HARRISONBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has reportedly rejected a waiver request by James Madison University (JMU) which would have let their football team play a bowl game in this year’s postseason.
According to ESPN reporter Pete Thamel, the NCAA made its final decision to reject JMU’s request on Wednesday, Nov. 15. This decision means JMU’s football team will not be allowed to play in a bowl game unless there are not enough .500 teams to fill the full slate of postseason games.
JMU moved from the Coastal Athletic Conference to the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2022, elevating the school’s football team to the highest level of collegiate competition. In its first year as part of the Sun Belt, JMU’s football team finished with the third-best record in the conference. So far this year, the team is undefeated and leads the Sun Belt with a 10-0 record.
Despite the team’s seamless transition into college football’s highest tier, the Dukes did not appear in a bowl game last year and will almost certainly not appear this year either. That’s because the NCAA has a rule barring teams from postseason play for the first two years after making the transition to the highest tier.
This caused several elected officials in Virginia to speak out in support of a potential lawsuit against the NCAA, including Senate President pro tempore Louise Lucas and Attorney General Jason Miyares, the latter of whom attended JMU for undergrad.
In October, 8News legal analyst Russ Stone said that it would be unlikely for a lawsuit against the NCAA to be successful.
“The response from the NCAA would obviously be ‘JMU knew the rules, they made a choice and everybody has to live by the rules,’” said Stone.
Because only football is divided into subdivisions at its highest level, JMU’s other athletic departments are not subject to the same rule.