What's buzzing:

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.

View Comments (42)
  • Bid to topple Blatter from FIFA rests with Jordanian prince

    Bid to topple Blatter from FIFA rests with Jordanian prince

    In soccer, the only certain winner seems to be Sepp Blatter. Three men were vying to stop Blatter from winning a fifth term, but only one will now be on the ballot next Friday: Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan. Luis Figo had been the only … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Mike Babcock thanks Red Wings fans with Detroit newspaper ad

    Mike Babcock thanks Red Wings fans with Detroit newspaper ad

    Babcock and his family took out an ad on Page 6B of the Detroit Free Press on Friday, featuring a photo of the Babcocks hoisting the Stanley Cup and what appars to be a photo of an Easter Island statue. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 8 minutes ago
  • I won't give medal away this time, says Mourinho

    I won't give medal away this time, says Mourinho

    By Michael Hann LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho will receive a third Premier League winners' medal on Sunday but the Chelsea manager is not feeling so charitable this time -- meaning no surprise souvenir for a lucky fan at Stamford Bridge. After … More »

    Reuters - 49 minutes ago
  • Formula One faces call to end alcohol sponsorship

    By Alan Baldwin MONACO (Reuters) - Formula One was accused of sending out a mixed message on alcohol at the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday by giving extensive publicity to drinks brands while campaigning for road safety. A report, published by … More »

    Reuters - 53 minutes ago
  • Guptill, Latham give New Zealand steady start

    Guptill, Latham give New Zealand steady start

    By Ed Osmond LONDON (Reuters) - Openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham gave New Zealand a solid start as they reached 44 for no wicket in reply to England's 389 at lunch on the second day of the first test at Lord's on Friday. Guptill was caught by … More »

    Reuters - 55 minutes ago