SoCon's Iamarino seeking to 'enhance' FCS

SoCon's Iamarino seeking to 'enhance' FCS

July 27th, 2011 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino said it's time for the Football Championship Subdivision to have a "serious dialogue" with the NCAA about the health and future of the subdivision.

Before Tuesday's SoCon football media teleconference, Iamarino reported that representatives from all FCS conferences, along with two presidents or chancellors from each conference, will meet next month with NCAA president Mark Emmert in Indianapolis.

"What we're trying to do with this meeting is have this be the start of a serious dialogue with the NCAA and with our colleagues in the FCS about the things that we need to do to enhance this subdivision," he said.

One topic that will be discussed is providing financial rewards to teams that advance deep into the FCS playoffs, much the same way teams earn more money the deeper they go in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

In the current playoff format, teams' costs are covered up to a point, but the money from the NCAA seldom covers all expenses, especially if teams send their bands on the road.

"We've all heard stories in the past of how teams that have gone to the championship have lost money on the playoffs," Iamarino said. "That should not be the case."

When the title game was moved back to early January last season, that added to the finalists' expenditures because they had to feed and house their players while school was closed.

Later Tuesday, during a phone conversation with the Times Free Press, Iamarino expanded on his thoughts that the FCS and its championship need to be enhanced.

"I think the biggest thing is you can't treat this championship as you treat the other 88 that the NCAA puts on for Divisions I, II and III," he said. "It's more important than that. Football at our level, on our campuses, is hugely important."

Representing the SoCon along with Iamarino at next month's meeting, which precedes the NCAA Presidential Retreat, will be Appalachian State chancellor Ken Peacock and Furman president Rodney Smolla.

Iamarino also addressed the recently announced partnership with public television systems in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to televise football games this season.

He said the SoCon still is trying to get deals done with public television systems in Alabama and Tennessee, but so far none have been made. The first televised game is Oct. 1, Appalachian State at Wofford, and before that game is played, Iamarino said, he was "confident that all of our communities are going to be able to watch these games."

If the SoCon can negotiate a public television deal in Alabama and Tennessee, then other options, such as commercial TV or a regional network, will be explored.