On July 31, the Big Ten issued a mandate requiring schools in the league to schedule at least one Power 5 conference opponent beginning in 2016, meaning the programs must schedule to play at least one school each year from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC.
As a result of the mandate, Big Ten programs have moved away from scheduling FCS teams for non-conference play. Independent football programs Army, Navy, BYU and Notre Dame will count as Power 5 opponents.
Indiana had scheduled future games with American Athletic Conference programs Cincinnatti for 2021 and 2022 and the University of Connecticut for 2019 and 2020 prior to the announcement, but according to a report last week from the Indianapolis Star, the Big Ten granted those opponents as exceptions for the Hoosiers.
However, that did not prevent Indiana from having to pay a heavy sum of money to conform to the new scheduling regulations. Indianapolis Star Sports Business and Enterprise Reporter Mark Alesia reported last week that Idaho will receive $2.5 million total from IU for games in Bloomington in 2021 and 2022, while Charlotte will receive $2.1 million total for home games in 2022 and 2023.
According to Kevin Kelley of FBSchedules.com, the Big Ten, ACC and SEC are the only conferences with scheduling mandates out of the Power 5. Out of those three, only the Big Ten will prohibit scheduling FCS programs moving forward.