The program hasn't had scholarships since 1954 and, as a member of the Patriot League, shouldn't have them now, either. In fact, the minute Fordham begins offering the grants, the school will become ineligible for the Patriot League championship, even though it will continue playing a league schedule through 2012.
On the other hand, being a scholarship-granting program will allow Fordham to take on bigger, better competition from college football's Football Bowl Subdivision. Already, the school has lined up dates with Army, Navy and Connecticut.
Most fans don't realize it, but Fordham actually boasts a very strong football history. The Rams beat Missouri in the 1942 Sugar Bowl, lost to Texas A&M in the 1941 Cotton Bowl and, during its peak years, played before huge crowds at the old Yankee Stadium. The school counts famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi among its alumni.
More recently, Fordham been a strong program in the Football Championship Subdivision, winning the Patriot League title in both 2002 and 2007.
In a statement, Rams coach Tom Masella said: "This is a great day for Fordham football. Being able to award scholarships based on athletic ability will greatly increase the pool of student-athletes that we are able to recruit. We are pleased to be able to maintain our Patriot League schedule and at the same time, look to enhance our schedule with the addition of some FBS schools along with top FCS schools. In the end this will aid us in achieving our ultimate goal, a chance to compete for an NCAA FCS championship."
Photo: Army and Navy are among the FBS opponents scheduled to play Fordham in the years to come. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)