Dr. Saturday

MAC commissioner rips NCAA for ignoring its rules on Georgia Tech waiver

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

View photo


MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, far right (US Presswire)

The commissioner of the Mid-American Conference is angry with the NCAA's ruling that Georgia Tech got a waiver to be bowl eligible at 6-7, which isn't surprising.

But, he probably has a point, because it surely seems the NCAA contradicted its own rules.

In August, the NCAA created a contingency plan if there weren't enough bowl-eligible teams. Here's the first four points to the plan, and again, this is only a contingency plan if not enough teams were eligible for bowl berths:

Under the process approved Thursday, if a bowl has one or more conferences/teams unable to meet their contractual commitments and there are no available bowl-eligible teams, the open spots can be filled — by the bowl sponsoring agencies — as follows:

First pool: Teams that finish 6-6 but would not normally be bowl eligible because they have a win against a Football Championship Subdivison team.

Second pool: A team that has a 6-6 record but beat two FCS teams.

Third pool: A team that finished with a 6-7 record, with the seventh loss being in a conference championship game.

Fourth pool: A team that played 13 games but finished with a 6-7 record.

The third pool is the one that came into play for Georgia Tech. The circumstance was unusual, because a 6-6 Georgia Tech wouldn't have played in the ACC title game if Miami and North Carolina were eligible. And, Georgia Tech could beat Florida State for the ACC championship on Saturday night, earning a bowl berth.

But the spirit of the rule seems clear. The rule was made in case there weren't enough bowl-eligible teams. That was not an issue this year. There were 70 bowl eligible teams for 70 spots when Georgia Tech requested the waiver. Two more, Pittsburgh and UConn, can become bowl eligible with a win on Saturday. The spirit of the rule also gives clear precedent to 6-6 teams over a 6-7 team. Even a 6-6 team with two FCS wins is looked upon more favorably in the rules approved by the Division I Board of Directors than a 6-7 team that lost its conference championship game.

When the rules were voted on, the board went through steps to make sure it clearly outlined that 6-6 teams would get in over teams with seven losses, even if there were unusual circumstances. And then the NCAA totally ignored that when Georgia Tech asked for a favor.

So when MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher released a statement criticizing the NCAA's ruling, it wasn't just sour grapes. He called the NCAA out for not following the rules it set:

"I am disappointed in the NCAA's decision to issue a waiver," Steinbrecher said in the statement. "I could not disagree more with the rationale provided. One of the reasons for the development of the policy covering this matter was to clearly create a selection order to manage just this situation.

"These selection orders were developed with NCAA staff input and approved unanimously by the NCAA Board of Directors last July. To suggest that that the NCAA staff or task force working on bowl policy did not contemplate such a circumstance, when this same situation occurred last year, is incorrect. The policy is clear and understandable.

"What is lacking is the willingness to enforce NCAA policy and that is regrettable. All the Mid-American Conference asks is that the rules that have been approved by the member institutions of the NCAA be enforced. That did not occur in this instance."

The team most likely to be left out of the bowl picture now is 6-6 Central Michigan, which is from the MAC. If one or both of the Big East teams become eligible, the MAC is in danger of having another eligible team left home.

The problem with this is it once again undermines smaller conferences. There was little chance that Georgia Tech wasn't going to get the benefit of the doubt here. The Yellow Jackets are from a big, BCS automatic qualifying conference. So, the NCAA decided that the spirit of its own rules didn't really apply to this case. That's pretty shameful, considering it just ensured that a bowl-eligible team from its membership will not get the chance to play in a bowl game. That's a heartbreaking turn of events for those players that won't get to experience a bowl game this season.

Ask yourself this: If the same situation was in play for a 6-6 MAC team heading into its conference championship game, do you think the NCAA would have granted it a waiver?

- - -
Got a tip for Dr. Saturday? Email us at dr.saturday@ymail.com . You can also connect with us via Twitter @YahooDrSaturday and be sure to "Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Jameis Winston's elementary school appearance marred by misstep

      Jameis Winston's elementary school appearance marred by misstep

      Since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Jameis Winston has been making an effort to rehab his public image. After a career at Florida State that was marred by a rape allegation, accusations of stealing crab legs from a … More »

      Shutdown Corner - 37 minutes ago
    • Mark Buehrle's No. 56 will be retired by White Sox

      Mark Buehrle's No. 56 will be retired by White Sox

      Nobody has worn No. 56 for the Chicago White Sox since Mark Buehrle left the team in 2011 and now nobody ever will. The White Sox announced Thursday that they’ll retire No. 56 this season in honor of Buehrle, who played 12 seasons on the South … More »

      Big League Stew - 56 minutes ago
    • Can Bruce Cassidy unlock Boston Bruins' creativity?

      Can Bruce Cassidy unlock Boston Bruins' creativity?

      Boston Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t see any major systematic issues with the team when he took over on Feb. 7 for fired former bench boss Claude Julien. “I think the Xs and Os were solid here, that’s been proven,” Cassidy said. What … More »

      Puck Daddy - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
    • Charles Oakley is going to a Knicks game again, just not in New York

      Charles Oakley is going to a Knicks game again, just not in New York

      Charles Oakley reportedly plans to attend another New York Knicks game this season, but it’s not exactly an omen that the cold war between the bruising forward and his former team is thawing. Oakley won’t attend Madison Square Garden again anytime … More »

      Ball Don't Lie - 1 hour 9 minutes ago
    • World Baseball Classic 2017: Boycott hurts Chinese Taipei's chances

      World Baseball Classic 2017: Boycott hurts Chinese Taipei's chances

      From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s team: Chinese Taipei. The team from Chinese Taipei had high expectations when they competed in … More »

      Big League Stew - 1 hour 26 minutes ago