Charlotte is our first non-Division I-A poster to be displayed. The 49ers, who finished 5-6 in their inaugural season, are once again competing as a Division I-AA independent while continuing the transition to I-A. Next fall, Charlotte joins Conference USA and becomes bowl eligible in 2016. By then we should have what, 50 bowl games?
Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin spent Saturday at Charlotte, where the 49ers played host to North Carolina Central. Charlotte, which played its first game two weeks ago and was 2-0 entering Saturday, suffered a 40-13 loss, the first in team history.
The idea to bring Division I-A football to Charlotte was hatched in 2006. The school's Board of Trustees signed off on the proposal in 2008, and after building a 15,300-seat stadium at a cost of nearly $41 million, the team took the field on Aug. 31 and beat Campbell, 52-7.
Charlotte is competing as a Division I-AA independent this season and next. It will join Conference USA in 2015 and become bowl eligible in 2016.
OK, Charlotte doesn't have a Division I-A football team at the moment, but the 49ers have a poster. When you get down to it, that's all that really matters, doesn't it?
Seriously, 2013 will be Charlotte's inaugural season. The 49ers will compete as an independent in Division I-AA and be limited to 63 scholarships.
The team will have around 75 players on scholarship in 2014, but many of the players are expected to redshirt in preparation for big boy football. Charlotte will join Division I-A and its 85 scholarship limit in 2015 and compete in Conference USA. The team will become bowl eligible in 2016.
It has been a long and interesting journey for the program. The idea to play Division I-A football started in 2006. By 2008, the Charlotte Board of Trustees had voted to add football by 2013.
There was an 15,300-seat stadium to build at a cost nearing $41 million. Brad Lambert was hired as coach in 2011 and in less than three weeks — on Aug. 31 — the team will play host to Campbell.