FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Football is the only NCAA Division I sport that is divided into two levels, the one that fills 100,000-seat stadiums and the one that gets no respect.
Representatives from colleges in the second subdivision aren’t sure how to fix it.
“Quite frankly, our level of football continues to have an identity crisis,” said Patty Viverito, commissioner of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
For years, this group of schools were in what was known as Division I-AA, a moniker that became a sore spot with coaches from other sports. To them, AA was not OK.
So in 2006, the top tier was renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision and the second level was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision. There are 120 FBS teams, which play in bowl games and are allowed 85 scholarship players. The 122 FCS schools decide a champion through a 20-team playoff format and are limited to 63 scholarship players.
The move to the FBS and FCS monikers has cured some heartburn for baseball and basketball coaches, but it has led to more stammer than glamour for the teams in what was formerly known as I-AA.
“To be honest, Football Championship Subdivision is a mouthful, and it doesn’t make the case for our Division I stature really much better than the I-AA moniker did,” Viverito said. “We’ve tried to fix this for years. It’s a dilemma.”
Six years after the switch to FCS, the NCAA is funding a rebranding initiative that could lead to a new moniker. NCAA officials are not revealing the cost of the plan, nor do they want to end the suspense by releasing a recently completed consultant’s report.
But it’s about more than just a name, NCAA spokesman Damani Leech said.
“There’s other things related to branding. There’s the strategy behind it. There’s the actual messages,” Leech said. “It’s more than just what you call yourselves, but it’s what you say about yourself and how you talk about yourself.”
A group of NCAA staff, college presidents, conference commissioners, coaches and athletic directors is working on details for a brand rollout in 2013, to coincide with the FCS increasing its playoff bracket from 20 to 24 teams.
Some have suggested dumping all subtitles and playing under plain old Division I, but that probably wouldn’t anyone, said John Iamarino, commissioner of the Southern Conference.
“The reality is, there’s going to be a label used somewhere to differentiate between the Nebraskas of the world and the Woffords and Georgia Southerns of the world,” he said. “It is a case of do we want to control the label or not.”
Even so, Iamarino believes the subdivision should be careful about changing monikers again so quickly because he fears even more confusion.
“I almost think we just ought to grit our teeth and work a little harder and make FCS work,” he said.
Coach Craig Bohl of North Dakota State calls himself “an old I-AA guy” and said he just recently became accustomed to the FCS label. Trent Miles of Indiana State isn’t there yet.
“I call it I-AA, just because I’m old school and I get confused sometimes,” Miles joked.
Bohl’s Bison know all about a lack of respect. Their championship banner for winning last season’s FCS title was mistakenly mailed to the University of North Dakota.
Regardless of the moniker, subdivision leaders believe there’s much to sell, beginning with good football at a reasonable price. More than a dozen FCS players were drafted by NFL teams in 2012, led by Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick, who went to the St. Louis Rams to start the second round.
Iamarino said football at the FCS level encourages community involvement. Fans can take ownership of their team with access to players before and after the game, which is rare at bigger schools.
“We’ve got a model here with our football that is kind of more in line with what mainstream America thinks about when they think about college athletics,” Iamarino said.
More Related Stories
- The sweet, sure to be short-lived "The Goodwin Games"
- Damon Lindelof admits barely-clothed scene in "Star Trek" was "gratuitous"
- Justin Timberlake: I'm a mediocre folk singer!
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- "Game of Thrones," season 3, episode 8: A salon
- Bieber booed, Miguel falls on fan at Billboard Awards
- "Mad Men" recap: Love, acid and whores. Lots of whores
- Taylor Swift leads Billboard winners
- “Game of Thrones” recap: “We must do our duty”
- "The Unwinding": What's gone wrong with America
- Michael J. Fox wins: The best and worst of the new fall shows
- First look: The Coens' marvelous folk-music odyssey
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11