NCAA rejects permanent 12th game in FCS

(STATS) - An FCS-member committee of the NCAA Division I Council has rejected the legislation to increase the regular season in the subdivision from 11 permanent games to 12.

While concluding two-day meetings in Indianapolis on Friday, the NCAA announced the defeat of the proposal that was co-sponsored by the Southland and Ohio Valley conferences.

One athletics administrator from each of the 13 FCS conferences voted on the legislation. To pass, it required a majority, but the voting results were 8-5 against the proposal, according to Southland commissioner Tom Burnett.

"We were only two votes away from getting this through, so maybe that's something to build on for the future," he said.

Patty Viverito, commissioner of two of the FCS conferences - the Missouri Valley and the Pioneer - said neither supported the legislation.

"The season, coupled with the 24-team playoff, is long enough as is," she said.

The proposal called for FCS programs to be given the opportunity to schedule another non-conference matchup as the 12th regular-season game, which is allowed on the FBS level. While FCS programs are restricted to 11 regular-season games in most seasons, they are permitted a 12th game in years when there are 13 weekends between Labor Day weekend and the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, most recently in 2014 and again in 2019.

Burnett and OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche said last June in a joint statement announcing the proposal that advantages include FCS programs seeking an additional game against an FBS opponent and to have a better chance to reach at least six home games. They also felt it would aid conferences with an expanded league schedule.

Conferences whose members might feel burdened by increased scheduling were not expected to favor the legislation.

"The proposal's permissive nature wouldn't force any FCS program to play a 12th game," Burnett said, "just like in 2019 when the calendar will naturally allow the extra contest to be permissively scheduled. My guess is many FCS programs will play 12 games in 2019.

"I think we made a logical argument to place FCS more in the mainstream of Division I football scheduling with our FBS brethren. Also, we really see this as a great opportunity to kick off each season with more high-level non-conference FCS action in 'Week Zero.' And as FBS continues to explore playing its schedule over a 14-week period by possibly opening up 'Week Zero' for regular-season games, this issue probably remains on the FCS radar."

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