Earlier this offseason the NCAA announced that the UNLV football program would be subject to a postseason ban because of academics.
A couple of months later, forget about that development. Pretend it never happened.
Following up on speculation that surfaced a short time ago, UNLV confirmed in a press release that the Rebels will indeed be eligible for a bowl game following the 2014 regular season. The initial ban came after UNLV’s official Academic Progress Report (APR) score over a four-year period came in at 925 — below the NCAA’s 930 threshold — and after the school’s appeal was denied.
According to the release, however, “adjustments to the scores from the four-year period (2009-10 through 2012-13) resulted in additional points” that brought the football program’s APR up to exactly 930. Those adjustments may have been miscalculations on the part of the NCAA, the Las Vegas Sun initially reported.
Regardless, UNLV will once again be eligible for the 2014 postseason — which could include playing for a conference title.
“Obviously we are excited to be eligible to play in the Mountain West Championship game and a bowl this season,” UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck said in a statement. “Nearly every man in our program stayed together through this — remained a team. That mental toughness and commitment to this school and each other says a lot about the people we have here and I think is going to serve us well on the field. Academics have always been, and will continue to be, a priority for us.”
The “miscalculations” that led to eventual “adjustments” didn’t come without unintended “consequences” for Hauck and his program.
Because of the bowl ban, players were free to transfer without sitting out a season; two took advantage of that stipulation. It’s unclear if either — offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson, running back Adonis Smith — would be permitted to return after signing financial aid agreements with Arkansas and Arizona, respectively, or if either would even want to return to Sin City.
Additionally, UNLV scheduled a 13th regular-season game against Hawaii on the islands to make up for the lack of a postseason appearance. Now, the Rebels will be forced to go 7-6 instead of 6-6 in order to become bowl eligible.