Jim Delany modifies Big Ten’s FCS ban to patch home scheduling problems

Jim Delany modifies Big Ten’s FCS ban to patch home scheduling problems
World-Herald News Service

CHICAGO — Is a football game between Nebraska and Youngstown State on the horizon?

It’s highly doubtful, but it would be possible now under a scheduling policy change Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany detailed Monday.

Three years ago, the league decided to stop scheduling Football Championship Subdivision schools such as Youngstown. Some of those games are still on the schedule because prior contracts were grandfathered in.

The idea in scheduling only Football Bowl Subdivision schools, Delany said, was to enhance the product quality for TV and to boost schedule strength for the College Football Playoff.

Two consequences have led the Big Ten to now allow one FCS opponent in years Big Ten schools have four home league games out of their nine conference games.

Delany said no other conferences followed the Big Ten in stopping FCS scheduling, putting the Big Ten at a minor disadvantage.

But the bigger issue was the difficulty some schools had in finding seven home games in the years they play four league home games. Almost all Power Five schools need seven home games for the revenue to meet their budgets.

“We didn’t anticipate those scheduling problems,” Delany said. “So we have modified it.”

Delany said he expects four to seven schools to take advantage of the policy change. Iowa often has played FCS teams such as Northern Iowa and North Dakota State through the years. Nebraska has occasionally dipped into the FCS pool to fill a scheduling hole.