The NCAA Division I Board of Directors Committee rejected James Madison’s second waiver bid for full bowl eligibility on Wednesday, sources familiar with the decision said. Here’s what you need to know:
- James Madison is a second-year FCS-FBS transition team, meaning it is not eligible for the postseason this year, unless there are enough 6-6 teams. Despite the rejection, JMU is still likely to reach a bowl game due to not having enough 6-6 teams.
- After going 8-3 as an FBS team last year, JMU made a waiver to its transfer request for one year instead of the two years mandated by the NCAA. It was rejected in the spring.
- This year’s JMU team is 10-0 and could be in position for the sixth berth in the New Year’s Group of Five if it is fully eligible. The Dukes are not eligible for CFP rankings nor eligible for the Sun Belt Championship Game, per conference policy.
- Jacksonville State’s FBS bowl and Tarleton State’s FCS playoff waivers were also denied.
Is this a surprise?
JMU officials were not feeling optimistic before the hearings began, but they remained optimistic. JMU’s case for a waiver was based on the fact that it spent its first transitional season in the FBS and Sun Belt, unlike most transitional teams that spend their first year in the FCS (as Jacksonville State and Sam Houston did).
The Dukes have also clearly proven they belong at the FBS level, with an 18-3 record since the move and an athletic budget on par with their conference peers. If there is a team that deserves an exemption, it is this team. —Chris Vannini, CFB senior writer
Why was it rejected?
More than anything, NCAA committees and other schools didn’t want to create a precedent, especially after their denials in the spring. Rules are rules. JMU admitted it knew the rules when it made the move, and did so again when it was denied a waiver the first time.
These classification rules have appeared frequently in basketball. Fairleigh Dickinson only upset No. 1 seed Purdue in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last spring because Northeast Conference champion Merrimack was ineligible for the tournament as a Division II transfer school. This leap is a four-year process.
This also comes at a time when FBS requirements are becoming more stringent. Last month, the Division I Council changed the FBS requirements, removing the attendance requirement but adding a $5 million application fee (up from $5,000) and setting more stringent requirements for the use of scholarships. FBS will grow to 134 teams next year with the addition of Kennesaw State. More guardrails are being erected, allowing the school to bypass a portion of the rules that does not fit where the wind is blowing. – My vanity
Why is there a reclassification process?
“The requirements for members moving to FBS are based on factors beyond athletic performance. They are intended to ensure that schools properly evaluate their long-term sustainability in the subdivision,” the governing committee said in a statement, in part. “Sponsoring sports at this level requires increased scholarships, expanded Athletics compliance, additional academic and mental health support for student-athletes, and the transition period are intended to give members time to adjust to those increased demands of student-athlete placement at those schools for long-term success.
“Division I members continually evaluate transfer requirements, and the Board continues to believe that if Division I members do not believe the requirements are appropriate, those concerns should be addressed through rule changes rather than waiver requests.”
JMU hosts College GameDay this Saturday, and you can be sure the show will be filled with anger directed at the NCAA, now on the scale of the premiere pregame show on ESPN. I imagine Pat McAfee would have some choice things to say about this.
The Dukes also host Appalachian State and play at Coastal Carolina next week. App and Coastal are vying to fill a Sun Belt East spot for which JMU is not eligible. We could face JMU and Liberty in a bowl game, and both would likely be undefeated. this week The athlete Bowl predictions have JMU vs. Toledo in the Cure Bowl.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares once lobbied for Dukes, sending a letter to NCAA President Charlie Parker that was largely rejected. It’s possible that Miyares and other state politicians who have pointed out the issue could create another push.
If JMU runs the table, there would likely be a surge in fan support to declare itself national champion, as UCF did in 2017. If it goes undefeated, I have no problem with that. – My vanity
what are they saying
“We are obviously disappointed with the results of the NCAA’s review of our application for bowl relief,” JMU said in a statement. “We feel sad for our university community, and in particular, we are devastated for our football program, coaches and student-athletes who had a great season and earned the opportunity. As we turn the page, we have a great week with College GameDay here and our final home game, so we are focused on maximizing These moments are for our university and to celebrate our graduating class.
(Photo: Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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