HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — For James Madison the only win they can’t claim is one from the NCAA, which on Wednesday night denied their request for a waiver of a rule that could keep them from a bowl game without extenuating circumstances this year, as it did last year. It is possible the Dukes could make a bowl game if there are not enough .500 to fill all of the bowl slots.
The Dukes (10-0, 6-0 Sun Belt) host Appalachian State (6-4, 4-2) on Saturday, and have already broken the record Georgia Southern set in 2014 for most wins (eight) over Bowl Subdivision teams by a program in its second year of FBS competition. James Madison has nine such wins this season with two games remaining.
“This has been a special year,” coach Curt Cignetti said after a 44-6 victory over Connecticut.
JMU also won’t be playing for their second Sun Belt football championship in as many years. NCAA rules requires teams moving up from FCS to wait two years to qualify for a bowl game, and the conference has aligned its bylaws to conform to the NCAA’s.
The school had requested the waiver of the two-year rule in a letter.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the outcome of the NCAA’s review of our request for bowl relief,” the school, which knew of the rule, said in a release announcing the decision. “We’re saddened for our university community and, in particular, we’re devastated for our football program, the coaches and student-athletes who have orchestrated an amazing season and earned the opportunity.”
Cignetti has made no secret of his feeling that James Madison should be eligible for the postseason.