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Big Ten Conference may soften its no-FCS stance

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FARGO – At one time taken off the University of Minnesota’s football schedule, Indiana State is back on it for 2016 – a move that could signal a hitch in the Big Ten Conference’s no-FCS-game mandate.

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The conference’s athletic directors passed a scheduling model last spring to do away with FCS opponents starting in 2016. But two Missouri Valley Football Conference teams are still on the slate for Big Ten teams that season.

North Dakota State still has a contract to play at Iowa, said athletic director Gene Taylor. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told Taylor that unless you hear anything different, the game is still on.

The Indiana State-Minnesota game was scrapped, although not officially, with the Terre Haute Tribune-Star newspaper reporting that Minnesota actually helped ISU find another opponent for that season.

But it appears Minnesota had second thoughts and decided to honor the original deal with the Sycamores. The school will get a $475,000 guarantee for playing at TCF Bank Stadium.

“I’m not privy to it, but Minnesota and the Big Ten might have changed philosophy on some things,” ISU assistant athletic director John Sherman told the Tribune-Star.

Said Taylor: “I would say that signals that the Big Ten is maybe not taking as hard of a stance as they were originally.”

Taylor said he wonders if the Big Ten is re-thinking its policy, given the fact no other FBS conference came out with a similar policy. NDSU is still open to an FBS opponent for 2015, but Taylor said there have been no discussions with a Big Ten school.

“I don’t know if I’m optimistic about that,” he said. “But I’m sure we’ll find somebody.”

NDSU played Minnesota three times since it moved to Division I, the last in 2011.

The Gophers’ 2019 game against South Dakota State is still listed on the program’s website. Minnesota did cancel a 2015 game with the Jackrabbits.

Jeff Kolpack | Forum News Service

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