As it turns, UCF will likely be eligible for the 2013 postseason after all.
Per the Orlando Sentinel among others, UCF has won its appeal to the NCAA that would rescind its bowl ban for the 2013 season. The postseason sanction was originally in effect for the 2012 season, but was pushed back to 2013 because of the school’s appeal.
While UCF would neither confirm nor deny the reports, a university official did state that “we will hear from the NCAA on Monday on the status of our appeal.”
The hearing on the appeal took place in late January, with the normal timeline being three months after a school’s case is heard for a final decision to be made. The fact that the ban was overturned is quite rare; the Sentinel writes that “schools have won only about 10 percent of appeals since a bylaw was changed in January 2008.”
“This is a big deal,” Jerry Parkinson, appeals coordinator for the NCAA Committee on Infractions from 2000 to 2010, told the paper. “If it comes down on Monday and it is a reversal, it is a big deal. It is unusual in light of the change of standards.”
The reversal would be the latest setback for the NCAA’s enforcement arm, especially as it relates to its bungling of the Miami investigation. That school has filed a motion to dismiss its case.
The UCF football program was hit with a number of sanctions last summer for major recruiting violations. Included in the punitive measures were the bowl ban as well as the reduction of five initial (from 25 maximum) and five total (from 85 maximum) football scholarships for three academic years.
The postseason sanction was the only sanction appealed by the school.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.
In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.
This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.
It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.
The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.