The Big Ten Conference will stop scheduling FCS teams for non-conference football games, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told WIBA-AM radio in Madison.
“The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” Alvarez said. “It’s not very appealing.” Alvarez went on to say that Big Ten officials have “…made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”
Alvarez did not mention when the conference would end the scheduling of FCS teams, but some are saying it could be 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join the Big Ten.
If it is 2014, there will be at least 24 games against FCS opponents that will need to be canceled. Buyouts for those games could be as much as a few hundred thousand dollars each.
Although this is a bold move by the conference to enhance strength of schedule, it’s also a risky one financially as schools could struggle to fill out their home schedules. It will also hurt the FCS programs that rely on the paychecks from FBS schools to help fund their athletic programs.
The absence of an FCS team on the schedule could also affect bowl hopes for some Big Ten schools, since one win over an FCS team per season currently counts towards bowl eligibility.
Listed below are the FCS schools that each Big Ten team has on their future schedules (including Maryland and Rutgers):