Florida State went 6-6 this season, a true stinker of a campaign that all went to shit the moment Deondre Francois went down clutching his knee. At least FSU’s measly six wins afforded them the consolation prize of a bowl appearance against Southern Mississippi.
However, as Reddit user bakonydraco noted in a harrowingly in-depth 1300-word post, FSU technically did not meet the requirements for bowl eligibility. One of their wins came over FCS squad Delaware State, a school that apparently did not fulfill the arcane requirement that would have made a win over them count towards bowl eligibility. Wins over FCS schools only count for bowl eligibility if that FCS school has “awarded at least 90% of the FCS scholarship limit.”
Delaware State handed over scholarship data to /r/CFB and after crunching the numbers, they found “the average of of grants-in-aid per year in football during a rolling two-year period is 54.815. This is 87.008% of the permissible maximum number of 63.” This means that they were not in compliance with Exception 126.96.36.199.1 in the NCAA Division I Manual. Three bowl eligible teams (Buffalo, Western Michigan, and UTSA) missed out on bowl games while FSU never technically earned theirs.
Brett McMurphy reported that “basically nothing that can be done” at this point, and that because none of the three other teams reported the scholarship issue to the NCAA, FSU will play Southern Mississippi next week. Coaches of the teams who missed out seem pretty unhappy with the NCAA, and I can’t blame them:
“It’s all together disappointing, especially after watching some of these early bowl games,” [Buffalo coach Lance] Leipold told me. “We were the last team to beat Florida Atlantic (34-31 on Sept. 23) and yet, we’re sitting out. This puts another damper on what I felt our kids deserved. But it’s our responsibility next year to make sure we win enough to guarantee a bowl spot.
“I can’t blame FSU, it’s a technicality that got overlooked. But you wish they would have checked it out.”
Congratulations to the NCAA for forgetting to adequately enforce their own byzantine rulebook.