That's when Towson was accepted as an associate member of the Division I-AA Patriot League, beginning in 1997. The Tigers just completed their first season as a nonscholarship entry in the ECAC-Intercollegiate Football Conference.
Next year's schedule includes eight teams that the Tigers played this fall: Butler, Bucknell, Robert Morris, Dayton, Central Connecticut, Monmouth, St. Francis (Pa.) and Wagner. Colgate, of the Patriot League, also has been secured, with a Sept. 12 home date.
Ivy League schools Columbia and Pennsylvania -- both on the road -- are included in 1997's upgraded schedule, along with Patriot League opponents Holy Cross, Lehigh, Lafayette, Fordham, Colgate and Bucknell.
"Joining the Patriot League is what opened the door," said Wayne Edwards, Towson's athletic director. "Up until we were a member, the Ivy League schools really weren't interested."
1996 schedule: Sept. 7, at Butler; Sept. 14, at Bucknell; Sept. 21, at Robert Morris; Sept. 28, Dayton; Oct. 5, Central Connecticut; Oct. 12, Colgate; Oct. 19, at Monmouth; Oct. 26, St. Francis (Pa.); Nov. 2, at Marist; Nov. 16, Wagner.
1997 schedule: Sept. 6, Monmouth; Sept. 13, Holy Cross; Sept. 20, Lehigh; Sept. 27, at Columbia; Oct. 4, at Pennsylvania; Oct. 18, Robert Morris; Oct. 25, at Lafayette; Nov. 1, at Fordham; Nov. 8, at Colgate; Nov. 15, Bucknell.