The Williams vs. Amherst rivalry will be featured on three different shows that will have 17 airings on 13 dates throughout the month of November on the New England Sports Network (NESN).
The rivalry began in 1818 when some members of the Williams Board of Trustees decided to move the college east into the Pioneer Valley. When the Massachusetts State Legislature turned down the request to re-locate the college further east, then Eph president, Zepheniah Swift Moore resigned and headed east with some members of the Williams faculty and some students to found Amherst Academy, which later became Amherst College.
As a result of the Moore defection the first college alumni society in the world was launched at Williams in 1821 to save the college. At Williams, Amherst teams are known as The Defectors and not the Lord Jeffs.
What other rivalry in this great nation had to have its News Directors decide the outcome of games played 80 years earlier? For many years the Ephs and Lord Jeffs reported different won-loss totals until 1964 when John English of Williams and Horace Hewlett of Amherst finally resolved the scores of the games played in 1884, 1886, 1887, 1890, 1891, 1896, 1897, 1918 and 1925.
The first athletic competition between Williams and Amherst began on July 1, 1859 when the two schools met in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to play the first intercollegiate baseball game in America.
The football rivalry began in 1884 in Amherst, where the Ephs prevailed 15-2.
This month NESN will air three shows that will showcase this intense, but respectful rivalry between two of the nation's finest liberal arts colleges.
On the academic challenge show Schooled the Williams Ephs and the Amherst Lord Jeffs meet in the quarterfinals. The episode of Schooled between Williams and Amherst that was filmed at Williams in October with the concluding event staged on Weston Field, will first air on November 6 at 7:00 PM. The Williams-Amherst Schooled show will then air seven more times throughout the month (see link to complete Williams vs. Amherst on NESN schedule below).
In October NESN sent a film crew to Amherst and then to Williams to interview folks in and around the football programs for a one-hour documentary on "The Biggest Little Game in America."
Williams folks interviewed included Dr. James Parkinson, Dick Farley, Aaron Kelton, Marshall Creighton, Ben Wagner '64, President Adam Falk and the three Eph captains: Chris Cameron, Pete Christiani and Darren Hartwell.
The first airing of the documentary that NESN is calling "Williams-Amherst: The Biggest Little Rivalry" will be at 11:00 AM, just prior to the kickoff of the 127th football game. The NESN documentary is narrated by famed actor David Strahairn '70 and will be replayed six times in November.
The Williams-Amherst football game is the fourth most played in all of NCAA football and the most played in Division III.
NESN will air the 127th football game between Williams and Amherst live this year on Saturday, November 10 at 12:00 PM and they will replay the contest on Sunday, November 11 at 2:00 PM.