Football is the only sport at Cal State Northridge that will not move up to the major-college ranks in 1990, but it is the first to make significant strides in improving its schedule.
Northridge’s first 2 opponents next season will be Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Fullerton, Division I teams from the Big West Conference.
Bob Hiegert, CSUN’s athletic director, said Wednesday that he is awaiting final approval of contracts for both games. Northridge will open the 1989 season Sept. 2 at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach, then play Fullerton the following week at Santa Ana Stadium.
Northridge is Division II in football, but Coach Bob Burt said he expects his team to be competitive against its larger Southland rivals.
“It’s strictly a money and exposure thing for us,” Burt said. “How we’ll play is hard to say. That’s a long ways away. We’ll see what they have and we’ll see what we have.”
In its history, Northridge has played 12 games against Division I teams, winning 3, the last victory coming over Fullerton, 31-20, in 1978. The following season marked Northridge’s last meeting with a Division I team, a 49-3 loss to Fullerton.
“In looking at some long-range goals, we want to see how much of a difference there is between our program and a Long Beach program and a Fullerton program,” Hiegert said.
Northridge originally was scheduled to open at Cal State Hayward, then play a home game against San Francisco State.
A phone call from Long Beach officials 3 weeks ago prompted Hiegert to try to reschedule the Hayward game. When that wasn’t possible, Hayward allowed CSUN to back out of its contract.
Northridge defeated Hayward, 17-0, in its opener this season. The teams will resume their series in 1990.
Hiegert said that he had little trouble dropping San Francisco from the schedule after a 48-0 Matador win over the Golden Gators this season.
“Our programs were going in different directions,” Hiegert said. “They were really pretty happy to get out of the contract.”
Northridge will receive guarantees from both Long Beach and Fullerton for the games. The amount of money still is being negotiated, but it reportedly totals about $15,000. That’s not much by Division I standards, but then Northridge won’t be spending a substantial amount for travel to the games, either.
“Financially, it’s a good situation for us,” Hiegert said.
Northridge also has agreed to play 2 games against Central State of Oklahoma, a strong Division II team from the powerful Lone Star Conference.
Central State will play at Northridge on Sept. 23 next season. The Matadors will travel to Edmond, Okla., the following year.
Northridge is tentatively scheduled to open on the road against a pair of Division I-AA teams from the Big Sky Conference in 1990. The Matadors will meet Northern Arizona on Sept. 1 and Montana the following week.