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JMU, Miyares holding off on legal action against NCAA on football bowl issue

Chris Graham
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(© Steve Heap – shutterstock)

JMU is holding off on pursuing legal action against the NCAA over its postseason bowl ban, which isn’t really a hard ban anyway, in the wake of the football team’s OT loss to Appalachian State on Saturday.

“On Saturday evening, following the game, we consulted with Attorney General Miyares and his staff, as well as with our outside counsel, and the consensus was that filing emergency legal action against the NCAA was not a viable course of action at this point in time,” the school said in a statement released Tuesday night.

“The University’s focus now is on getting the football team into a bowl game, and it appears that such a result is still a strong possibility,” the statement went on. “We could still file an action against the NCAA later if needed to receive a bowl invitation, but for the time being, there was a strong consensus that proceeding with legal action did not make sense.”

JMU (10-1) can still get a bowl bid if there aren’t enough FBS teams with at least six wins to fill out the 82 available spots in the 2023 postseason.

Entering the final week of the regular season, there are 70 teams at the six-win threshold, with 24 others, including Virginia Tech (5-6), which faces Virginia (3-8) on Saturday, at five wins, thus needing one more to get to the magic number.

The threats of legal action were never really about just getting into a bowl, but rather, about giving the football program a shot at a New Year’s Six game.

JMU, at 10-0 heading into last weekend, would have been in a prime spot to be the highest-ranked Group of Five program heading into the postseason, which would have qualified Madison for a New Year’s Six game.

The loss to App State appears to have made that argument moot, at least in the eyes of those who would have to pursue legal action to make it happen.

As it stands at the moment, there are two Group of Five teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25 – Tulane (10-1) at #23, and Liberty (11-0) at #25.

JMU is ranked below both in the AP and Coaches Top 25s, one spot behind Liberty (and five ahead of Tulane) in the ESPN FPI, and a spot behind Liberty and 27 ahead of Tulane in SP+.

Looking at those numbers, it would seem to stand to reason that a good argument could still be made that JMU could have a shot at a big bowl, but the powers-that-be at the school and in the AG’s office seem to have decided otherwise.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].