SHAWNEE – ESPN and NCAA Division II selected Oklahoma Baptist to kick off ESPN3’s NCAA Division II Football Showcase Sept. 2.
The noon contest against East Central at Crain Family Stadium in the Hurt Memorial Athletic Complex will be streamed live on ESPN3. It is the start of a 22-game collaboration between ESPN and NCAA Division II.
“Having our game streamed on ESPN3 will be the perfect start to what we believe will be our first season as full NCAA members,” said OBU Director of Athletics Robert Davenport. “We’re thankful to have been given this opportunity to showcase OBU as we begin a new era with fresh opportunities.”
ESPN3 is available through the ESPN app.
The Bison beat East Central in Ada last season in a thrilling overtime contest.
“We are so excited for this exposure for our program and this university,” said OBU Head Football Coach Chris Jensen. “What a privilege to get to host an incredible media outlet and have OBU football broadcast across the nation.”
The first 18 games of the football showcase are predetermined matchups. Four additional flex games — highlighting crucial matchups — will be finalized later in the football season and played in November.
“The collaboration with ESPN provides a continued opportunity to showcase Division II’s balanced student-athlete experience,” said Terri Steeb Gronau, vice president of Division II. “The student-athletes who will be featured in these games have made incredible achievements on and off the field, and we’re excited to share their abilities with a broad national audience on ESPN3.”
The scheduled games will feature 13 of the 15 football-sponsoring conferences in Division II and are selected from a pool of conference nominations. Two conferences have signed separate broadcast agreements and will not be included this season.
Ten teams in the 2017 package appeared in the Division II playoffs, and nine finished the 2016 season ranked in the top 25 of the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll. All 18 games currently scheduled are conference matchups.
“The quality of Division II football continues to rise,” said Steve Mullins, incoming chair of the Division II Football Committee and director of athletics at Arkansas Tech. “We are proud to provide our fans and communities the opportunity to watch some of the most exciting teams across the nation.”
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multiscreen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through the ESPN app. The network is currently available nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
The Division II football showcase kicks off with two games on Saturday, Sept. 2, on ESPN3.
Saturday, Sept. 2 — Notre Dame (Ohio) at Shepherd
Saturday, Sept. 2 — East Central at Oklahoma Baptist
Saturday, Sept. 9 — Bowie State at Winston-Salem State
Saturday, Sept. 9 — Albany State (Georgia) at Tuskegee
Saturday, Sept. 16 — Grand Valley State at Michigan Tech
Saturday, Sept. 16 — Tusculum at Limestone
Saturday, Sept. 23 — Mars Hill at Catawba
Saturday, Sept. 23 — Ferris State at Ashland
Saturday, Sept. 30 — West Florida at Florida Tech
Saturday, Sept. 30 — Colorado Mesa at Colorado State-Pueblo
Saturday, Oct. 7 — Southwest Baptist at Truman
Saturday, Oct. 7 — California (Pennsylvania) at Indiana (Pennsylvania)
Saturday, Oct. 14 — Findlay at Hillsdale
Saturday, Oct. 14 — Indiana (Pennsylvania) at Slippery Rock
Saturday, Oct. 21 — Grand Valley State at Ferris State
Saturday, Oct. 21 — Tarleton State at Texas A&M-Kingsville
Saturday, Oct. 28 — Southern Arkansas at Henderson State
Saturday, Oct. 28 — Azusa Pacific at Central Washington
Saturday, Nov. 4 — To be determined
Saturday, Nov. 11 — To be determined