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Former SIU coach still supportive of FCS despite Big 10's announcement
I caught up with former SIU football coach Jerry Kill, who is now at Minnesota, at the Liberty Wealth Management 5K/Fun Run in Carterville a few days ago.
Liberty Wealth Management is owned by former Saluki quarterback Joel Sambursky, who is still very tight with his old coach. Kill said a few words to the runners and walkers, walked the course at Walker’s Bluff with his wife and took a few minutes to chat with me.
Kill is in an interesting position, because he still loves the Football Championship Subdivision (although he still calls it I-AA) but is part of a conference that said recently it will not play those schools because of the impending College Football Playoff in 2015. Because only four teams get into the actual playoff for the national championship, the Big 10 Conference doesn’t want its strength of schedule questioned when the time comes for the selection committee to figure out who those four teams should be.
The Big 10 Conference has said it doesn’t want its teams playing FCS teams after 2015. Some, like Michigan State, have already considered bouncing contracts with FCS teams earlier than that.
“There are things in college football that I can’t control,” Kill said. “I’ve come up through the ranks, so I’m always supportive. Maybe the best level of football I ever coached was I-AA and Division II, as far as the reason it exists, and you’ve got kids that are not all on full scholarships, and they really want to play. At the level we’re at, it’s big business. I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
Kill’s Minnesota club is playing Western Illinois on Sept. 14. It will be one of seven games in 2013 pitting Missouri Valley Football Conference teams against Big 10 opponents.
SIU heads to Illinois two days after Indiana State plays at Indiana. Indiana State is also playing Purdue a week later in West Lafayette, Ind. Payouts from these FBS games can be north of $500,000 for FCS schools, depending on the opponent.
Kill said with the way Football Bowl Subdivision conferences are changing, both membership-wise and financially, things could go the other way, as far as playing FCS schools or not playing them.
“Am I for it, or against it, or whatever? The Southeast Conference has voted to play I-AA schools, so, that could change,” Kill said. “I don’t think there’s anything concrete right now. There are meetings and conferences, and things that come out. Just like in recruiting, where I used to be able to do this, now I can’t any more.”
Kill led SIU to four straight Gateway Conference titles and five straight playoff berths in his eight seasons after coming over from Division II Pittsburg (Kan.) State in 2001. His 2003 squad earned the program’s first playoff berth since the 1983 national championship season and finished 10-2.
The Salukis reached the postseason the next six years, four under Kill, before missing out in 2010 with a 5-6 record.