I must admit, I’m stunned, shocked, baffled — whatever word you want to put on it. The news today from Missouri Valley Football Conference commissioner Patty Viverito that the NCAA took another step in addressing the regionalization problem in the early rounds of the FCS playoffs is surprising in that the NCAA is actually admitting it is willing to spend more money on something other than FBS or the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The only step remaining is for the NCAA Division I Council to adopt it, which seemingly will be a rubber stamp scenario considering the NCAA Oversight Committee gave what Patty Viverito said was a pretty clear approval. Unless there’s mounting opposition in the FCS between now and October, it should be a go.
In a big respect, it’s a victory for the fans. In these parts, those that follow NDSU football were starting to get turned off by seeing the same teams in the playoffs every year. It was reaching the point where it wasn’t feeling like the playoffs anymore, rather an extension of the regular season. NDSU and SDSU have played so many times over the past four years, six, that it feels more like a home-and-home league basketball game.
This proposal won’t guarantee that from happening again, certainly, but at least gives the selection committee another option in pairing teams. It appears the selection committee has heard loud and clear that mixing up the field is an OK thing now that the NCAA is willing to shell out more cash for a flight. We’ll see if that holds true. It’s not easy changing anything in something other than FBS, but league commissioners appears to have made some headway on this issue and got their way over some smaller-market FCS programs that wanted no part of traveling west toward the Valley or Big Sky. I’m still shocked.