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Miyares threatens NCAA with legal action over JMU’s exclusion from 2023 bowls

Chris Graham
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JMU alum Jason Miyares, the Republican who is the attorney general of Virginia, is threatening legal action against the NCAA over its decision to enforce its two-year bowl ban for the football program.

“We are prepared to act on behalf of JMU in the unfortunate circumstance that JMU’s request for relief is not timely approved,” a law firm engaged by Miyares wrote to the NCAA. “Specifically, JMU is prepared to promptly file a lawsuit in the Western District of Virginia asserting that the bowl ban violates the antitrust and, potentially, other laws.”

The letter was sent to the NCAA ahead of the decision by an NCAA committee to deny JMU’s final effort to have the organization grant the school a waiver from the two-year bowl ban that is in effect for programs making the move from FCS to FBS.

JMU, 10-0 and ranked 18th in this week’s AP Top 25, is in Year 2 of its transition to FBS.

The program finished the 2022 campaign with an 8-3 record, but were denied a spot in the Sun Belt championship game because of the bowl ban.

The Dukes, at 6-0 in Sun Belt play with two weeks left in the 2023 regular season, would be in prime position for a Sun Belt championship game berth if the NCAA ban wasn’t in place.

And because of their spot in the national polls, JMU would seem to have a solid shot of earning a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

“This injustice transcends athletics, and should not be allowed to stand,” Miyares said in a statement issued by his office. “After repeated warnings to the NCAA, they still refuse to do what is right. Therefore, I am prepared to expose the NCAA’s unlawful conduct and seek justice for James Madison University through litigation, provided the University authorize me to do so.”

Absent action by the NCAA, or a court order, JMU could still end up in a bowl game in the 2023 postseason, if there aren’t enough eligible teams to fill out the 82 spots in the bowl schedule.

But the Dukes wouldn’t be able in that situation to play in a prestigious New Year’s Six game, instead almost certainly being relegated to a lower-tier game.

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].