Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Second-Best Bowl Team That Never Was


BOONE — The NCAA informed Appalachian State University on Tuesday evening that Appalachian’s request for a waiver from its NCAA-mandated football postseason ineligibility in 2014 was denied.
Appalachian State is in the second year of a two-year transition period from NCAA Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) to Division I FBS (Football Championship Subdivision). Per NCAA policy, programs are not permitted to compete in postseason play during the two-year transition, thus App State was barred from participating  in the FCS playoffs in 2013 and a bowl game this season.
Appalachian, which posted a 7-5 record in its first season as a member of NCAA Division I FBS and the Sun Belt Conference, requested the waiver on the basis that it had completed or is on an appropriate timeline to complete all requirements for full FBS membership.
“We thank the NCAA for considering our request for a waiver and respect its decision to deny the request. We’ve known since we accepted the invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference and NCAA Division I FBS last year that postseason ineligibility is part of the two-year transition process,” Appalachian State Interim Director of Atheltics Rick Beasley said. “However, we felt like we owed it to our student-athletes to pursue any avenues available to try to reward them for a terrific season with the opportunity to compete in a bowl game.
After a 1-5 start, the Mountaineers won their final six games in 2014 to not only finish 7-5 overall but also 6-2 in Sun Belt play, good for third place in the final conference standings.
Appalachian State will be eligible to compete for a bowl bid in 2015, when it returns 20 starters (10 offense, 10 defense) from this year’s squad.
“The fact that we are not going to a bowl game does not diminish one bit the accomplishments of this year’s team, particularly its 14 seniors,” said Beasley. “The last two senior classes may not have had the opportunity to participate in the postseason but they built the foundation for a program that will compete for Sun Belt championships and bowl bids for years to come. We couldn’t be more grateful to them for the sacrifices that they made or more proud of them for what they achieved.

“We’re looking forward to 2015 when we’ll have 20 starters back to compete for a Sun Belt championship and a bowl bid!”
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