FRISCO, Texas (AP) — North Dakota State athletic director Matt Larsen believes Frisco is becoming for FCS football what Omaha is for NCAA Division I baseball or Oklahoma City for softball.
“When you think about a championship location, every FCS program at the beginning of the year, their goal is to get to Frisco,” Larsen, vice chair of the FCS committee, said Friday.
This is the 14th time that the Football Championship Subdivision title will be decided in the 20,500-seat professional soccer stadium in North Texas. This is only the fourth time that the Bison haven’t made the trip from Fargo to Frisco.
The Bison got knocked out of the 24-team playoff by a double-overtime loss in the semifinal round at No. 2 seed Montana (13-1), which plays defending champion and top-seeded South Dakota State (14-0) in Sunday’s title game.
Montana last played for the FCS championship at the end of the 2009 season, the year before the game moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Frisco, and switched to an early January date with some added time between the semifinals and the title game.
“Had a tinge of jealousy that our fans have not had an opportunity, and our team has not had an opportunity to be here in Frisco for a championship,” said Montana AD Kent Haslam, the FCS committee chair. “The format now is just so much better, where you have time in between, and just the experience here is so outstanding that I possibly have over-hyped it.”
The NCAA contract for the game in Frisco has two more years after this, plus an option for the game at the end of the 2026 season.
Ty Halpin, the NCAA director of championships and alliances for Division I football, said there is an open bid process in place for the games after that.
“Frisco, obviously, is interested in retaining the game. We do have interest from others. … We’re way ahead of talking about any of that,” Halpin said Friday. “Our experience here in Frisco has been unbelievable.”
With its 14th game Sunday, Frisco becomes the longest-serving host of the FCS championship game. Chattanooga was the site for 13 games from 1997-2009.
The FCS title game is again being played the day before the College Football Playoff national championship game. That likely won’t be the case moving forward because the CFP is expanding from four to 12 teams next season, which will push its final game further into January.
Haslam said the FCS oversight committee has moved to lock in the first weekend after New Year’s Day for its championship game, and not lengthening the time between the semifinal games and the championship, regardless of what happens with the CFP finale.
“Certainly a healthy FCS is good for college football. It just is. It is a great spot to play,” Haslam said. “In all of the confusion that’s happening right now, we have a 24-team playoff, we’re sitting here with the 1 and 2 seed playing for a national championship that have worked their way through.”
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