During the past three years in the Atlantic 10 football conference, Towson University made a total of three television appearances.
This season, the Tigers' rising profile in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision -- formerly known as Division I-AA -- will be rewarded with five TV games.
Towson's recruiting coup is part of a five-year television contract announced by the league at yesterday's media day event at ESPNZone. The school will appear four times on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and once on CN8. More important than the financial gain for Towson is the TV exposure.
"The financial side is pretty much a wash," Towson athletic director Mike Hermann said. "It's really an investment. We spent a great deal on our program, and it gives us a chance to showcase that on television for other people to see."
The Tigers' football team is moving into the Colonial Athletic Association this season after three years in the Atlantic 10 football conference. All 12 teams from the Atlantic 10 have moved into the CAA, where Towson also plays basketball.
"It's the easiest change we've made," coach Gordy Combs said. "It's my fifth conference change in 16 years, but it's a cosmetic change."
The strength of the CAA was evident in a preseason poll of coaches and selected media. Towson, which went 7-4 last year, was picked third in the CAA South. The Tigers were recently ranked 17th in the nation by Street & Smith's College Football Yearbook.
Massachusetts, which lost the I-AA national championship game to Appalachian State last year, was picked to repeat as league champion.