Mercyhurst Lakers announce 2024 football schedule

By Kevin Kelley -

The Mercyhurst Lakers have announced their 2024 football schedule, which includes a total of eight games.

Mercyhurst, currently a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in Division II, is moving up to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and will begin play in the Northeast Conference (NEC) this fall.

The Lakers will be ineligible for the NEC championship in their first season. Following a four-year reclassification period, Mercyhurst will attain its full membership status in 2028-29 and will be eligible for the FCS Playoffs at that time.

Mercyhurst opens the 2024 season with two consecutive non-conference contests on the road, beginning on Thursday, Aug. 29 against the Wheeling Cardinals and continuing on Saturday, Sept. 7 against the Howard Bison.

The Lakers will then travel to take on the Robert Morris Colonials on Sept. 14, which will also be their Northeast Conference opener.

After consecutive open dates, Mercyhurst will open its home slate at Saxon Stadium in Erie, Pa., against the Division III Buffalo State Bengals on Oct. 5. Mercyhurst then pays a visit  to NEC foe Central Connecticut on Oct. 12.

A third open date for the Lakers is set for Oct. 19. The Lakers then make back-to-back road trips to play FCS Independent Sacred Heart on Oct. 26 and fellow NEC-member Duquesne on Nov. 2.

Three weeks later, Mercyhurst concludes its inaugural Division I schedule at home on Nov. 23 against Saint Francis U.

Below is Mercyhurst’s complete schedule for the 2024 season:

2024 Mercyhurst Football Schedule

  • 08/29 – at Wheeling
  • 09/07 – at Howard
  • 09/14 – at Robert Morris*
  • 09/21 – OFF
  • 09/28 – OFF
  • 10/05 – Buffalo State
  • 10/12 – at Central Connecticut*
  • 10/19 – OFF
  • 10/26 – at Sacred Heart
  • 11/02 – at Duquesne*
  • 11/09 – OFF
  • 11/16 – OFF
  • 11/23 – Saint Francis U.*

* NEC contest.

Mercyhurst finished the 2022 season 2-9 overall, with a 1-6 mark in PSAC action. The Lakers are entering their third season under head coach Ryan Riemedio, who has a 4-17 overall record at the school.

Note: This article was edited to remove the Frostburg State game on Sept. 28 and add the Buffalo State game on Oct. 5.

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Comments (18)

The NCAA’s four year wait to MOVE UP is so stupid. I Can see that for someone dropping down (Savannah State a few years ago), but moving UP should be only one. James Madison got hosed by this rule last Fall.

James Madison was in a bowl game last fall, which was not right, they knew what the rules were when they moved up and they whined and got in, which was even dumber because there was political involvement in there. If you don’t like the rules about moving up, you shouldn’t move in the first place. I realize two wins at the D-II level makes them a competitor for the NEC title but they aren’t even playing a full schedule and to be playoff eligible requires SIX D-I wins. All Mercyhurst and the NEC will ever be is a playoff bye week for a CAA team that barely got in on an at large bid anyway.

@Jay M

Wrong! JMU only got a bowl bid because not enough teams had 6-6 or better records. The NCAA denied the request for a rules waiver.

I honestly was not following it that closely, but the bottom line is that after all the crying, they got in, then they lost just to prove they didn’t belong. The point I was trying to make was that you know the rules when you move up and you should accept the fate that goes with it, they didn’t get hosed, the rule is what it is.

Why only 8 games—are they still looking for more. Would be nice if they can get to 10–why are so many schools leaving Division II—-I think that’s a nice level of football—–but they’re leaving.

They added that after they initially published the release. They also removed the home game against Frostburg State, may have been a premature announcement.

There are some other NEC teams that only have 11 games scheduled, and they are eligible for 12 this year, so that may add some. The conference could move the schedule around some as well, since they offered the initiation after they set the schedule, but it really doesn’t matter since Mercyhurst isn’t playoff eligible for four years anyway.

It really seems like the NEC stuck it to Sacred Heart for leaving to go Independent. Three games were lost to former NEC mates to accommodate Mercyhurst.

Sacred Heart did get one game back with one against Mercyhurst themselves. I’d guess that Sacred Heart tries to get a date with Howard on October 12.

Mercyhurst has a common open date with Stonehill. Everyone else in the NEC, they play or have full schedules already. Timing for this invitation was very strange.

NEC has been looking for more schools to join for quite a while, there were two other Division II schools they were talking to who ultimately decided to stay in Division II for the time being so this isn’t something that came about suddenly.

Me I would have said wait until next academic season to officially move up into NEC but there are also things working behind the scenes that we don’t know about

Yep, Sacred Heart was screwed, but can’t blame NEC teams for helping a new member. Will be interesting to see how SHU reacts and rebuilds their schedule.

SFU only had four home games as it was.

They are the only NEC team to travel to Mercyhurst.

SFU’s administration let the NEC walk all over them.

What did the NEC owe to SHU? They left the conference, so if they show no loyalty, how do they earn any respect. SHU can’t make the playoffs as an Independent, so you should hope for them to work into the void in the CAA when Delaware moves up in 2025.

Well they could still do a game with Duquesne, and there are some other teams that are only doing 11 games on their schedule right now, Lehigh has an opening on October 12th along with Sacred Heart so maybe there is some deal making there that could be done.

What kind of schedule is this? As an AD,wouldn’t you think you would have built a schedule first before moving up? And only one home game listed? Add in the fact Mercyhurst wasn’t competitive at D-II……this has been a car crash from Day 1 for the NEC.

Honestly, I have to agree. The timing of the invitation after the NEC set their conference schedule seemed haphazard. The 8-game schedule (or is it 7 now) is a joke masquerading as a football season. Couldn’t they have gotten a Canadian team or two to come to Erie and fill an open slot? Mercyhurst needed to have been planning a transition schedule back in fall 2023 – given that this didn’t seem to happen until this month, I am thinking that there is a back story to the decision to go Division I right now. Something just doesn’t smell right.

Merrimack (11 scheduled) and Mercyhurst both currently have two duplicate open dates, 10/5 and 11/9.
Maybe something is in the works.