Butler claims PFL's first playoff bid

St. Louis, MO ( - Butler University received the Pioneer Football League's first-ever automatic qualifying bid to the FCS playoffs on Tuesday.

Butler won a ranking tiebreaker over Marist. The two teams shared the PFL title after going 7-1 in league games, but they didn't play each other in the 12- member league's unbalanced scheduling.

"First I want to congratulate both Butler and Marist on their championships," PFL commissioner Patty Viverito said. "It speaks to the high quality of play in the league this season that we had to use all of our tiebreakers to determine our automatic qualifier. We look forward to Butler carrying the PFL flag into the Division I Football Championship for the first appearance by a league member."

The PFL used the seven computer ratings utilized by the College Sporting News' Gridiron Power Index to determine the automatic qualifier. Butler (9-3) was favored in five of the ratings over Marist (8-3).

The PFL chose that tiebreaker over the NCAA's Simple Rating System, which has yet to be released publicly. The NCAA will announce its 24-team field on Sunday.

"Congratulations to Butler for representing the Pioneer Football League in the FCS championship," Marist head coach Jim Parady said. "I'm disappointed about the results of the rankings. I would have liked the opportunity to put this team in the FCS championship to see what we could've accomplished."