Vote on permanent 12th game in FCS this week

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(STATS) - The vote on increasing the FCS regular season from 11 permanent games to 12 is scheduled to occur when the NCAA Division I Council meets Thursday and Friday in Indianapolis.

An FCS-member committee of the council, which includes an athletics administrator from each of the 13 conferences, will decide the proposal, which is co-sponsored by the Southland and Ohio Valley conferences but would not affect the 2017 season. A majority of votes is needed to pass the legislation and an NCAA representative said the decision will be announced Friday.

The proposal calls 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, such as 2019, '24, '25 and '30.

OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche and Southland commissioner Tom Burnett 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, and that it would aid conferences with an expanded league schedule.

With the Southwestern Athletic Conference dropping from a nine-game conference schedule to seven games beginning this year, only the Southland exceeds an eight-game conference schedule at nine.

While a 12th game would be optional to schools, if permitted the start of the FCS regular season would become the weekend prior to Labor Day weekend.

Dissent toward the proposal could come from conferences that play small league schedules and schools that might feel burdened by increasing scheduling. The smallest FCS conferences are the Big South with six members and the Northeast Conference and Patriot League with seven each.