Committee approval a major step in FCS playoffs avoiding regional matchups

FARGO-The Division I FCS playoffs took a crucial step in altering its structure when the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee approved a recommendation of the possibility of an extra charter flight.Missouri Valley Football Conference comm...

FARGO-The Division I FCS playoffs took a crucial step in altering its structure when the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee approved a recommendation of the possibility of an extra charter flight.

Missouri Valley Football Conference commissioner Patty Viverito said the policy would only go into effect if at least four teams from one conference make the 24-team field.

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"Then they would seek approval from the NCAA for the extra flight," she said. "It would be a deviation of the policy previously approved by the NCAA."

The proposal still has one hurdle to clear-approval by the NCAA Division I Council, which doesn't meet until October. But Viverito said if approved the mandate would go into effect for this year's playoffs.

"It was a strong endorsement from the Oversight Committee," she said.

The Oversight Committee oversees the structure of both the FCS and FBS. The Missouri Valley is one of the leagues pushing for change after five of its members were selected for the 2015 playoffs, but all five were put on the same side of the bracket because of a regionalization policy.

North Dakota State has twice faced South Dakota State in the second round of the playoffs in recent years. Last year, the Bison had a rematch with the University of Montana in the second round and faced Missouri Valley member Northern Iowa in the quarterfinals. Only a Richmond upset of Illinois State prevented NDSU from seeing another conference foe in the semifinals.

The Missouri Valley Football President's Council is meeting late next week to further address the issue. Viverito said Mark Lewis, the executive vice president of championships for the NCAA, will address the group.

"We'll have a better understanding of everything after he meets with us," she said.