The Florida Gators typically play one Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent each season. This season will be a bit unusual as two FCS teams grace UF’s 2018 football schedule.
That probably wasn’t the original plan, however.
Florida is slated to host the Idaho Vandals this season on Nov. 17. The game was originally scheduled for the 2014 season, but it was canceled due to lightning.
But then in 2016, Idaho announced that they were dropping their football program down from the FBS to the FCS beginning with the 2018 season.
Somewhere during that time period and when their 2018 schedule was announced, Florida added a home game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, also an FCS team.
Now, according to copies of game contracts obtained from the University of Florida, it looks like Florida might play two FCS teams in 2019 also.
Florida is contracted to host the UT Martin Skyhawks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on Sept. 7, 2019. The Gators are also contracted to host the Towson Tigers that same season on Sept. 28.
UF will pay UT Martin a $500,000 guarantee, per the contract that was signed by Florida’s Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin on Dec. 20, 2017. Stricklin signed the Towson contract a little over a month prior on Nov. 8, 2017, and the Tigers will receive a $450,000 guarantee.
It’s likely that one of the the aforementioned FCS opponents in 2019 will be moved to another season. Confirmation of that was sought, but neither Scott Stricklin nor Senior Associate Athletics Director Steve McClain replied to our emails.
NCAA rules do not prohibit FBS teams from scheduling more than one FCS opponent, but only one FCS opponent per season counts toward bowl eligibility.
According to a report by SBNation, Florida received an exemption for the 2018 Idaho game from the NCAA allowing the game to count toward bowl eligibility for the Gators. We also sent Steve McClain an email regarding this issue a few weeks ago and received no response.
Florida to host Samford in 2021
FBSchedules.com has also learned that Florida will host the Samford Bulldogs on Nov. 20, 2021. The Gators will pay the Bulldogs a $500,000 guarantee for that game.