NJCAA Selects College of DuPage Host of First Division III Football Title Game

By: Mark Reinhiller

Red Grange Bowl image

A groundbreaking announcement regarding junior college football places College of the DuPage and its football program at the forefront.
Beginning this upcoming season, the National Junior College Athletic Association will recognize Division III (non-scholarship) football by crowning its national champion at COD's Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium. Kickoff for the championship is 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4.
Non-scholarship football also will have its separate weekly top-five poll. 
The top two teams in the final poll will play for the championship at COD.
"We are so grateful to the NJCAA for allowing us this opportunity to host this national championship,'' said COD Director of Athletics and Recreational Programs Ryan Kaiser. "There has been a lot of time spent building toward this exciting day. This opportunity allows more NJCAA student-athletes to participate in this sport on a national stage. College of DuPage is excited to display our wonderful college."
Kaiser said credit was due in large part to former Chaps' head football coach Matt Foster, whose foresight implemented the annual Red Grange Bowl — recognized as the unofficial non-scholarship championship game that began in 2016.
"For the NJCAA to recognize this championship is a dream come true,'' Foster said. "To have its own championship with a separate national weekly ranking poll is absolutely fantastic. It will benefit COD, the athletic department, and more importantly, the football programs that participate in a great game, not just at COD, but throughout the country.''
The decision was voted on at the June NJCAA Board of Regents meeting and passed to best support and serve the student-athletes competing. More than 40 participating teams participate in NJCAA football.
"Two divisions of football within the association increases the availability of competition for our student-athletes while issuing fair matchups throughout the season," said Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "The NJCAA prides itself in providing a premiere educational and athletic experience to our student-athletes in addition to an opportunity to play at the next level.''
The Chaps, under acting head coach Matthew Rahn, open the 2021 season Sept. 2 at Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College.

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