NCAA denies JMU Football’s waiver to become bowl eligible, sources say

JMU football will have to wait one more years before becoming bowl eligible.
JMU football will have to wait one more years before becoming bowl eligible.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 10:15 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football program will have to wait one more year for bowl eligibility, after the NCAA Division I Board of Directors denied JMU’s waiver request to reduce the FBS transition period, sources confirmed to WHSV.

The Dukes were making their case that they should be eligible for bowl games this upcoming season, and they sent an appeal to the NCAA for consideration. Whenever a team transitions from FCS to FBS football, the program has to undergo a two-year transition period in which teams are ineligible for postseason play. After a strong first season, the Dukes were trying to get that transition rule reduced to one-year.

JMU football went 8-3 last year, and they were even ranked in the Top 25 at one point.

Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill gave a statement to WHSV regarding the situation.

“James Madison is a prime example of a football program and a university that took the necessary steps to position itself for an FBS move, making significant investments in financial aid, facilities and staffing to be competitive at the highest level of college football. The Dukes proved that on the field in 2022, posting an 8-3 record while playing a full FBS schedule in the first year of their transition. Though we’re disappointed by the NCAA Division I Council’s decision to deny JMU’s waiver to be postseason eligible for the 2023 season, we look forward to James Madison completing the transition process and representing the Sun Belt in the postseason for years to come.”

All hope is not lost though. NCAA rules allow a team in the second year of transition from FCS to FBS to play in a bowl game if there not enough bowl eligible teams. As long as James Madison wins at least six games during the 2023 season, there’s an outside change they could still play in a bowl game.

JMU says they have not been formally notified of the NCAA Board of Directors’ decision to deny JMU’s appeal for relief from the NCAA’s two-year reclassification requirement, the university is aware of credible media reports of the outcome. JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne released a statement regarding the situation, and how they’re moving forward.

You can read the full statement here.