SBD/February 14, 2013/Colleges

Negative Impact On FCS Schools Could Be Huge If Big Ten Ends Football Scheduling

Alvarez said Big Ten officials have agreed to stop scheduling opponents from the FCS
Big Ten schools discussing a football scheduling upgrade could "produce a 'potentially devastating' domino effect" for FCS schools, according to Andrew Logue of the DES MOINES REGISTER. The topic "came to light" after Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez during his weekly radio show Tuesday night said that Big Ten officials "have agreed to stop scheduling opponents" from the FCS. Northern Iowa AD Troy Dannen said, "I would tell you it’s potentially devastating. And not just because we wouldn’t play Iowa anymore, but to FCS schools in general." NIU received a $500,000 "payout for playing Iowa last season and $450,000 for traveling to Wisconsin." Those two BCS foes "helped Dannen maintain an expected annual football budget" of $2.7M. Dannen said, "I anticipated top teams were going to avoid us from a strength of schedule (standpoint), once the playoffs started. I also think the Big Ten is next in line for their TV contracts, and there’s a lot more value when BCS plays BCS than there is when BCS plays MAC, Sun Belt and Missouri Valley." Iowa AD Gary Barta said that he "expected a decision on the FCS issue by summer." Barta: "We all need to know where we're headed with football scheduling soon, because it's one of those things where contracts are set well in advance" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 2/14).

SCHOOLS DEPEND ON BIG PAYDAYS: Columnist Kevin Blackistone said the move not to schedule FCS teams is "all about the money, and this is just another case ... of the big boys keeping all the cheese to themselves." Blackistone: "First thing I thought about was the paycheck that big schools aren’t going to cut to the little schools and those little schools ... look forward to getting that check.” Denver Post columnist Woody Paige: “I like the fact that big-time teams will allow those smaller schools to come in and have the experience of playing in the Big House. ... I think that it makes sense and it’s a big payday for the schools that need it.” ESPN's Bomani Jones said, “Nothing is going to be that much different because they may not go to the FCS, there’s still the Sun Belt and all those other lower-level FBS conferences to get cupcakes from” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/13).
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