NCAA president says he feels bad for James Madison football players, but rules are rules


PULLMAN, Wash. – NCAA President Charlie Baker said he feels “bad” for the undefeated football players at James Madison University but said it wouldn’t be fair to give them a waiver from an NCAA rule that prevents them from being eligible for postseason play this season.

“Yeah, I feel bad for those kids, but I also feel bad for the kids who play for a team that is eligible that would not make it” if JMU got a waiver, Baker said in an interview Friday with USA TODAY Sports.

Baker said those other eligible schools could suffer potential damage if the Dukes (10-0) were given the waiver to play in the postseason. He named Liberty (10-0) and Tulane (9-1) as among those who could be boxed out of a top bowl in that case.

“It’s a zero-sum game,” Baker said Friday at Washington State University, where he was visiting. “If you put more and more in, it’s not like there’s another space for more and more. Somebody else comes out, who’s qualified and isn’t on probation.”

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Why aren’t the Dukes eligible to play in a bowl game?

They are in the midst of a two-year transition to the lucrative Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football after moving up from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), where there are fewer resources and player scholarships. The NCAA requires such “reclassifying” teams to be ineligible for the FBS postseason during this two-year period.

Dukes running back Ty Son Lawton points at the camera after scoring a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Dukes are in the second year of the transition and have asked for a waiver from the NCAA but have been denied. If their waiver request had been approved, they could have been included in the College Football Playoff rankings and might have set their sights on an elite…

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Author : USA TODAY Sports

Publish date : 2023-11-18 12:37:48

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