Iowa State AD details how difficult it is to make up a canceled college football game (Update)

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Fans are asked to leave the stadium after lightning was spotted during the first half as South Dakota State takes on Iowa State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Fans are asked to leave the stadium after lightning was spotted during the first half as South Dakota State takes on Iowa State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Update: Sept. 12 – 3:10 p.m.

Iowa State announced Wednesday that it locked down a game for Dec. 1. The Cyclones will host Incarnate Word, an FCS program from San Antonio, Texas, at 1 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium.

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The game replaces the season-opener against South Dakota State that was wiped out by severe weather. Fans who had tickets to the canceled South Dakota State game will receive tickets for the Dec. 1 game.

“Although it’s been a challenging process to identify a school that was willing and able to play in Ames on Dec. 1, we are thankful to the Cardinals’ Athletics Director Brian Wickstrom and Coach Eric Morris in helping us schedule this game,” Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard said. “We explored multiple options to give our student-athletes every opportunity to compete and, ultimately, be eligible to participate in a bowl game. Our student-athletes only have so many chances in their career to play collegiate football. I’m very grateful to the administration at UIW for helping us provide our student-athletes, as well as our marching band and spirit squad another chance to represent Iowa State University.”

As part of the agreement, Iowa State “will pay Incarnate Word $300,000 for the game and provide use of a charter aircraft to fly to Des Moines.” The game will not be played if Iowa State qualifies for the Big 12 title game or Incarnate Word reaches the FCS playoffs.

Original story: Sept. 11 – 1:15 p.m.

Iowa State’s quest to add a 12th game to its schedule has been a struggle.

Because of severe weather, the Cyclones’ Sept. 1 opener against South Dakota State was canceled in the first quarter. In the days since, ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard has been scrambling to get another game on the schedule. He has hit several bumps in the road.

He detailed the ordeal — including multiple waivers turned down by the NCAA Football Issues Oversight Committee — on Iowa State’s weekly radio coaches show on Monday, showcasing how difficult it is to reschedule a college football game.

Game vs. Drake denied by NCAA

According to the Des Moines Register, Pollard said the school was eyeing a Dec. 1 game against Drake, a Des Moines-based school with an FCS football program.

However, because Drake plays in the Pioneer Football League, a league that does not give out scholarships, the NCAA said no.

“They just decided that they wouldn’t approve that waiver because it wouldn’t be fair to all the other schools that we were going to try to count a win against a non-scholarship football program,” Pollard said.

How about another FCS team?

Iowa State has a bye scheduled for Oct. 20, so Pollard and his staff waded through FCS teams with a common bye week. There are 19 of them, so ISU filed a waiver with the NCAA hoping one of those teams could be allowed to add another game to their schedule.

No dice.

“The rationale, evidently, was that if any of those FCS teams played us, they would change their strength of schedule and the calculation that gets used for the FCS playoffs,” Pollard said.


OK, what about 5-win bowl eligibility?

Another no.

Teams need six wins to be eligible for a bowl, and can use one FCS win to reach that total. Now, with 11 games on the schedule, Pollard asked the NCAA if ISU could be eligible with just five wins. That was shot down as well.

From the Des Moines Register:

“We put in a request that said if we could get one of the two teams that have games available that are eligible to play us on Dec. 1 but if they were not able to play because they were in their FCS playoffs or they were in a conference championship game, would we be able to be bowl eligible if we were at five FBS wins,” Pollard said. “And that was also denied.”

ISU is still exploring all avenues for a home game on Dec. 1, even though that’s the date of the Big 12 title game.

After the South Dakota State cancellation, the Cyclones lost to rival Iowa 13-3 last weekend. Next on the schedule is No. 5 Oklahoma. ISU could be without starting quarterback Kyle Kempt against the Sooners. Kempt is “day-to-day” after hurting his knee against the Hawkeyes. Kempt was instrumental in ISU’s upset win over Oklahoma in Norman last fall.

Many other schools will soon face a similar ordeal

Iowa State and Nebraska were the only two FBS teams to have their season-opening game canceled. Like Pollard, Nebraska AD Bill Moos is scrambling for a 12th game after the Huskers’ game against Akron was called off, also because of weather. The Akron game very well may be rescheduled, but Moos is also looking for potential FCS opponents on Dec. 1, just like ISU is.

Hurricane Florence is wreaking havoc on Week 3, with several adjustments to the schedule, including cancellations, already implemented. Most notably, No. 14 West Virginia’s trip to NC State and No. 18 UCF’s trip to North Carolina have both been canceled. Though in NC State’s press release, the school did not rule out potentially rescheduling the WVU game.

But as Pollard and Moos have communicated publicly, rescheduling a college football game is a tremendously difficult task.

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