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NDSU athletic director says not every Big Ten school is against playing FCS teams

FARGO - Upon further review, North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor said talk of the Big Ten Conference banning its schools from playing Football Championship Subdivision programs is just that. Talk.

"It's just a discussion point," Taylor said. "Hold on to your hats. It's not time to panic."

Taylor's comments were in response to those made by University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who told a Madison, Wis., radio station that Big Ten officials agreed to stop playing FCS opponents, a division that includes North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota.

Taylor said he got his information from another Big Ten athletic director on Wednesday, who told him some schools in the power conference don't want to give up the FCS game.

"One of (the ADs) said we're not all in the upper echelon of the Big Ten," Taylor said. "We need those guys. Our coaches would hang us if we played only non-FCS teams."

He said one factor was the need to reach six victories to become bowl eligible. That in theory would be tougher for some Big Ten teams if only Football Bowl Subdivision games were on the slate.

Taylor said he also talked with an athletic director from the Big 12 Conference, who told him that league has never discussed not scheduling FCS teams.

Taylor said he was told the Big Ten and FCS discussion started when Maryland and Rutgers were invited for membership. He said all scheduling matters were on the table, whether it was to play, eight, nine or 10 league games. He said the FCS games were part of that discussion.

NDSU is contracted to play at the University of Iowa in 2016 - its only Big Ten opponent on future schedules. Taylor has yet to talk with Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, an NDSU graduate, but he doesn't foresee any problems.

Northern Iowa athletic director Troy Dannen told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier newspaper that he's operating under the assumption Iowa will still be on the Panthers' schedule.

"The reaction through the FCS world is going pretty fast," Taylor said. "Nothing is set in stone."

Taylor said one argument he heard in favor of Big Ten schools not playing FCS programs concerned postseason bowl position. He countered with Alabama and Oregon, which played national title games the same year they played FCS teams.

"The power ranking is not negatively affected," Taylor said.