Senior Editor Craig Haley is a nationally recognized professional in the sports broadcasting world. He’s been providing spectacular coverage of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for the past 9 years and has spent over 30 years mastering his craft. A decorated sports writer, Haley began his career as a beat journalist covering Princeton football at The Trenton Times. He would eventually move up the ranks until he became the FCS Executive Director for The Sports Network. In 2015, TSN was bought by Haley’s current company Stats LLC. Stats LLC is the world’s leading sports data and technology company.
He described his passion for writing to have developed at an early age, exclaiming, “When I was in the second grade I was already working on the school newspaper, it’s just always been a part of my life”. Although he’s received numerous opportunities to write for the Football Bowl Subdivision schools (FBS), he’s chosen to remain with the FCS division of NCAA football. He highlights going to Princeton football games growing up as an influence as to why he’s stayed, but he also expressed, “It’s kind of like a fan-friendly level, the crowds are smaller...You’re close to the action, the people are exceptional, it's not the same as being in a 100,000 (Seating capacity) stadium”. When he described his personal relationship with the FCS Haley stated, “From a media perspective, just doing a standard postgame press conference up on the podium…in the FCS it’s just a more family atmosphere, a lot of the players are coming in playing with a chip on their shoulders”.
He expressed that an exciting time of year for him is the annual FCS Awards. At this national banquet, the best football players in this subdivision are crowned as the winners of awards such as The Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice, Eddie Robinson, and Doris Robinson awards amongst others. He credits the FCS with having a more entertaining and competitive playoff system than the FBS. The FCS plays in a 24 team, single elimination round, championship structured playoff format. The FBS chooses the top four ranked teams to face off against each other in 2 of the New Year's bowl games, with the winners of those games ultimately playing in the National Championship game. As to who has the best odds to secure the title in this upcoming 2018 campaign Haley stated, “The last couple years James Madison University has risen in the Colonial Athletic Association and they’re threatening to match North Dakota State’s level. JMU won two years ago, they were the runner-up to North Dakota State last year, and they’re 1-2 going into this year in every single poll that you would look at… Those are our two teams to beat”. As for the rest of the FCS, Haley states that teams like Eastern Washington amongst others, all have chances to make their marks this year. “There are some teams out there that are on that next tier, they just have to get it done on the right day in the playoffs”.
To check out more news on the Football Championship Subdivision and to read up on the latest content from Craig Haley, follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley, to get the latest updates on all things FCS.