When the Drake Bulldogs take the field against the CONADEIP All-Stars this May in the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, they’ll be going up against the youngest football league in Mexico.
Historically, the National Student Athlete Commission of Private Institutions (CONADEIP) has been a basketball league. CONADEIP prides itself on being one of Mexico’s most competitive collegiate leagues. This was the first year in which the league was able to include football.
CONDAEIP had unsuccessfully attempted to form a football conference in 2000 and 2003. Another attempt in 2010 succeeded because of a division within another major conference — the National Student Organization of American Football (ONEFA).
In 2009, eight universities were ousted from ONEFA because of disagreements in the amount of scholarships that could be awarded and the amount of foreign players allowed per team. The teams that parted ways included all six of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) universities. Two more teams from the University of the Americas (UDLA) followed suit.
The split began when ONEFA tried to reduce the amount of full scholarships that these teams could offer. The private institutions that had the resources to woo players in their direction had previously dominated the league.
Another cause for the split was that the level of talent on the ITESM Monterrey team was overwhelmingly above every other in the league. ITESM Monterrey, a university regarded as one of the best private schools in Mexico, had won the last five national championships before failing to reach an agreement with ONEFA.
Before CONADEIP gathered the eight ousted universities into a new football conference, the teams spent an entire season playing tournaments and friendly matches. They even competed against some U.S. universities.
Last November, UDLA Puebla took home the first-ever CONADEIP championship after defeating ITESM Monterrey 17-10 in a scintillating match at their home stadium, called the “Temple of Pain.” Drake officials attended that game alongside CONADEIP officials to experience the atmosphere of Mexican college football and to witness the talent level that will match up against Drake this summer.
CONADEIP has recently announced the 46 all-stars who will square off against Drake in Tanzania.