ESPN Calling Again?

ESPN Calling Again?
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Wanted to follow up on a question we received in our live chat on Sunday:

Comment From Gully

I heard they’re trying to move the Montana game up to August to get a national TV date. What are the chances of that (getting a waiver from the NCAA)?

Could more primetime games come to NDSU? (Carrie Snyder-Forum File Photo)

This question stems from a story that actually broke over the summer from the Sports Network, which you can read here. This “FCS Football Challenge” (which is a redundant name) is an interesting idea and I believe something that has legs. I spoke with three different commissioners over the summer about this idea and all of them seemed onboard, they all believe any exposure will certainly help the division’s profile. NDSU finds itself right in the crosshairs of this idea clearly being the two-time defending champions. Remember, NDSU has a non-conference game scheduled with Montana on September 6th next season and that type of game clearly fits the bill. I spoke with athletic director Gene Taylor last night about this, he said “had informal talks with ESPN, the NCAA would have to grant a waiver for us to play that early, haven’t spoke with anyone at Montana about it.” There are a lot of things that have to happen before this can become a reality. First, the NCAA has to sign off with an earlier start to the season, they have done it in the past as Craig Haley points out, so since NDSU has August 30th scheduled with Iowa State next year, let’s say August 23rd would be the game date. Second, ESPN would have to find in my opinion at least two other national matchups they would find appealing; now Sam Houston-Eastern Washington are scheduled to play each other next year in Cheney, that fits the bill perfectly, so let’s add them, but ESPN NEEDS an East Coast game as well; say Delaware-Eastern Illinois, something like that. You get 3 top notch FCS games and now you’re cooking, ESPN just can’t go with one game, they need a few to make this a real deal to blow up some schedules. Lastly, NDSU needs Montana to sign off, if it is indeed Montana that they would move that date for. I think we all understand the importance of TV and exposure even more so after College Gameday blew thru town, but imagine if NDSU gets to play on a weekend where there are NO other games going on, it’s similar to the Georgia Southern semifinal game last year on a Friday, NDSU went up against just college hoops that night, this would be against baseball and preseason NFL. It’s a great idea by ESPN and I hope we see it come to fruition, the possibilities are eye-opening when you think about it.

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