If that rule actually exists, what is the point of having new I-A standards? Harkens back to the D-I restructuring of 1980s when Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent, Miami, Northern Illinois, and Ohio University were demoted to I-AA and then restored to I-A status after only one year.
I can't believe that new I-A restrictions would be laden with clauses similar to those of previous restrictions. If this "exception" is applied to the MAC [again], then the Sun Belt Conference and San Jose State will still be I-A, and no teams will be compelled to drop out of I-A. I haven't done the research, but I can't believe that this "MAC exemption" holds true for the new I-A standards.
You are correct.
Further investigation led to NCAA memos that mentioned the exceptions will be removed when the new rules are enacted.