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CEDAR FALLS — Missouri Valley Football Conference commissioner Patty Viverito made certain during Monday’s league-wide media day that she doesn’t have answers to all the questions, speculation and uncertainty that exists in an ever-changing college football landscape.
At the same time she didn’t shy away from explaining how the MVFC is the FCS’ preeminent conference.
“We set an all-time high with six selections in the playoffs last season,” Viverito said. “The league’s 14 wins in the past two (postseasons) is double that of any other league. And we have reached the championship playoff game an FCS record 11 straight seasons and counting.
“We also set records with the NFL Draft in the offseason. We had nine picks, (the) most ever.”
While the MVFC has plenty to brag about. It’s impossible to ignore what North Dakota State’s decade of dominance has meant for the league. It’s responsible for nine of the 11 straight championship game appearances.
Upon mentioning that stat, Viverito was asked if NDSU’s dominance is a good thing.
“I think every time you win a national championship it’s a good thing. And I’ll leave it at that,” Viverito said.
Despite the warnings in her opening remarks about not having answers to all the questions that confront college football, the FCS and MVFC, the 37th-year commissioner still was peppered with questions on the related topics.
On conference realignment:
“Last year at this time we were speculating that we would have more FCS leagues, more automatic bids (and) more at-large teams. At this point in time I think contraction of the number of conferences is just as likely as not,” Viverito said.
If the FCS is in a better place now than one, or two years ago:
“I think that our subdivision’s visibility with the digital media with ESPN+ and others has catapulted the visibility and respect for FCS in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined as recently as 10 years ago,” Viverito said. “That said, whenever we lose longtime top FCS teams to FBS one would be foolish not to recognize that that’s a loss and one that is regrettable.”
Viverito added that a game plan is in its early stages for the championship subdivision to keep its place at the proverbial table of the sport.
“I can tell you that when the commissioners met in Park City (Utah) in June — and FBS and FCS commissioners met jointly — that was our plea to our FBS brethren that regardless of what governance structure looks like it’s really important that we remain a big part of what the FBS stands for,” she said. “I think we have support from the FBS for that as well.”
STATS Perform announced its preseason FCS first, second and third All-America teams Monday and two UNI Panthers were honored.
Junior place kicker Matthew Cook was named to the first team while senior linebacker Spencer Cuvelier was named to the second team.
Cook made 19 of 22 field goal attempts (86 percent) last season, finishing second in the MVFC and 12th in the nation in field goal percentage. He was the only FCS kicker with two field goals of 50 yards or more.
Cuvelier’s 2021 season was cut short by injury after eight starts, but he finished fifth in the MVFC in tackles per game with 8.2. He also notched 4 1/2 tackles for loss, recovered two fumbles and forced another.