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Alvarez: Big Ten won’t schedule FCS teams any longer

Published: Thu, February 14, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.


Youngstown State running back Adaris Bellamy is swarmed by Penn State defenders. Late Tuesday, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said on the radio that the Big Ten will stop scheduling games against FCS teams, a move that could cost YSU hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez said the league will stop scheduling FCS teams

By Joe Scalzo



The Big Ten could soon put a big dent in Youngstown State’s bottom line.

Speaking on WIBA-AM radio in Madison, Wis., Tuesday night, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said the league will no longer schedule Football Championship Subdivision teams, a decision that could cost the Penguins hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

“The non-conference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” Alvarez said. “It’s not very appealing. So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”

YSU has played five games against Big Ten teams since 2006, earning an average of $540,000 in those games.

The Penguins will play at Michigan State in 2013 and Illinois in 2014 and were expected to play Ohio State in 2015, although nothing official has been released.

The Big Ten did not confirm the report on Wednesday. Spokesman Scott Chipman said the league’s coaches and athletic directors are preparing a proposal for the Council of Presidents/Chancellors to consider in June, the Associated Press reported.

The move could allow the Big Ten to expand its conference schedule to nine or 10 games when Maryland and Rutgers join the league in 2014.

It would also boost the conference’s strength of schedule, a key factor in choosing teams for the upcoming four-team playoff.

A YSU spokesman said the school will not comment until the Big Ten confirms the decision.

The Penguins have never beaten a Big Ten school but did earn their first win over a BCS conference team last fall when they defeated Pitt of the Big East. (Pitt will join the ACC after this school year.) Also, Missouri Valley member North Dakota State defeated Minnesota in 2011 and the Big Ten suffered maybe the most infamous FCS loss in history in 2007 when Michigan fell to Appalachian State.

Former YSU tackle Andrew Radakovich said the move is “probably smart.”

“There’s a lot of talent rising up in the FCS and over the years those teams have gotten better so there’s a bigger chance of getting beat,” said Radakovich, a four-year starter who graduated with an accounting degree in December. “And it makes sense with the playoffs and the strength of schedule.

“Ohio State always plays like six small schools and they’re happy with their schedule, so maybe they’ll start playing some talented teams out of conference.”

Radakovich, who started his college career at Penn State before transferring to YSU, said FCS teams will suffer.

“You don’t get that many chances at an FCS school to play in that big of a stadium or that big of a crowd,” he said. “Teams didn’t always sell out when they played us but it was still a bigger crowd than we’ve ever seen, so it was always an exciting time.

“We were definitely a bigger underdog but it’s nice to thrive in those games, especially after what we did to Pitt this year.”

Radakovich would like to see YSU schedule more games against teams from the Mid-American Conference or Conference USA.

“I personally think we would put it to a lot of them,” he said. “But I don’t think that will happen. They’re scared of losing to quote-unquote inferior programs. But I’d like to see them try to compete in our league.”


1Spiderlegs(161 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Wisconsin was nearly beaten by Northern Iowa last year. Not playing FCS schools is a way for UW to claim athletic superiority without proving it on the field.

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2YtownSports(306 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Every school should be able to control its own non-conference scheduling and deal with the impact of their schedules regarding bowl eligibility, etc. By the same token, FCS programs shouldn't be put out of existence by FBS scheduling preferences.
There are quite a few FBS programs that might be better off at the FCS level, but no one is starting an effort to purge them from the bloated FBS ranks.

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3papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

how many ysu players went on (to start) for an nfl team after tressel was hired and won national championships? not counting kickers. the big ten has nothing to gain and much to lose by scheduleing 1-AA teams. they lose a lot of money and risk possible injury to players. forget the rare upset. it's not worth it to them. the mid-american conference is much more competitive than it used to be. they've beaten severly big ten teams recently and are on espn and the big ten network a lot. the only way for ysu to grow and prosper is to, whatever it takes, join the mac. all of the athletic programs would gain. football and basketball would fill seats. how many have driven to n. dakota state? last fall the stadium was half empty, they're losing money. the way i see it is, get into the mac and all the natural rivalries, or take the risk of dropping back down to division two.

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4papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

i meant to say, they've beanten several big ten teams lately. should check my spelling.

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5Buci01(12 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Whether or not The Big Ten, No longer plays Universities from 1-AA so be it. As for the person that states that,"The Ohio State University" plays six soft teams a year, a memory lost he could have. They have played in year after years,teams from The Big 12; ThePac-10 or now PAC-12. So may e it was wise to leave another Big Ten University to transfer to another University. He needs to be concerned about that University and Not "the Ohio State University" as that University can do well within the Conference. Have a good day. Have Faith. Go Bucks !!!!

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6papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

the schedule makers can do whatever they want to do in the big ten but urban is going to turn the buckeyes into SEC north and other coaches better step up their recruiting, like he said, or be left behind. the only team that had a monster recruiting class other than osu is that team up north, so, is this the new "ten year war?" we can only hope because it sure was fun. and brady hoke is going to be the new bo, mark my words.

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7papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

oh, i almost forgot. "GO BUCKS"!!!!

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8DSquared(1778 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Not that big of a deal. There are plenty of big schools who are rally "patsies" and D1 in name only.

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