Jim Delany didn't say anything about not scheduling former FCS programs. In a bit of potentially shrewd scheduling, Rutgers has added a season-opening home game against Texas State to its 2018 slate, NJ Advance Media has confirmed. Delany, the Big ...and more »
Jim Delany didn't say anything about not scheduling former FCS programs.
In a bit of potentially shrewd scheduling,Â Rutgers has added a season-opening home game against Texas State to its 2018 slate, NJ Advance Media has confirmed.
Delany, the Big Ten commissioner, has instructed teams to stop scheduling FCS (formerly Division I-AA) teams as soon as possible. Rutgers faces Howard this season and Morgan State in 2017 before coming into compliance.
But Rutgers wasn't about to give up theÂ one sure game per season where it is a heavy favorite without getting creative. Texas State was a FCS program as recently as 2011 and has not yet appeared in a FBS bowl despite twice being eligible.
Texas State joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2013 and later found a home in the Sun Belt Conference after the WAC dropped football.
Chris Ash 'all for' scheduling regional rivalry
Nine FCS programs have moved up to FBS since 2012 and two more â€“ bringing the total to 130 â€“ are in the transition stage.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash, who played and got his coaching start at Drake in the 1990s, said there are two sides to getting rid of FCS games.
"From a coach's standpoint, that's how you scheduled, hopefully, a lot of victories back in the day," Ash told NJ Advance Media. "The other thing that is lost a little bit is when you don't play those games, a lot of those teams â€“ especially if they are local teams â€“ that's the way they supplement their budget. That's the way their football program survives â€“ getting one of those money-type games.
"Having been at that level in the past and always trying to find ways to fund your program, you counted on those games. From a fan perspective, I get it. They don't like those games. There are pros and cons to them from both sides of it."
Chris Ash: No more easy games, quick fixes
One con for Rutgers â€“ andÂ all Big Ten teams without endless pockets â€“ is that it is more expensive to secure a one-time game (rather than a home-and-home series) against a FBS team than a FCS team because of supply-and-demand principles.
Rutgers is paying a $350,000 guarantee to Howard and Morgan State, according to game contracts obtained by NJ Advance Media.
Texas State will receive $1.2 million, according to a report by FBSSchedules.com, which cited an Open Public Records Act request fulfilled through Texas State in first reporting the matchup.
Rutgers now has finalized its 2017 (Eastern Michigan, Morgan State, Washington) and 2018 (Texas State, Buffalo, at Kansas) non-conference schedules.
While those sound like mismatches â€“ with the exception of Washington â€“ Texas State is thought of as a possible sleeping giant.
The university has the fourth-largest enrollment in the state behind Texas A & M, Texas and Houston, and the football program has access to a recruiting hotbed plus a budget bigger than its peers and recently renovated facilities.
It was enough to entice coach Everett Withers â€“ who once coached North Carolina â€“ to leave FCS power James Madison.Â Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer and running backs coach Zak Kuhr worked for Withers at JMU.
Ryan Dunleavy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rydunleavy. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.
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