The BR-46 Bowie State football team will be forced to nullify five games for using an player later determined to be ineligible, impacting their chances of winning a division title and potentially shaking up the NCAA D2 football playoff picture.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the NCAA notified Bowie State (8-1 overall, 8-0 vs. D2 teams, 6-0 CIAA North) of a Secondary/Level III violation involving former quarterback Matthew Goggans earlier today (Friday, Nov. 6).
Bowie State will nullify the five games in which Goggans, a graduate student who previously played two seasons at Fullerton (Calif.) College and at one season at FCS North Carolina Central before transferring to Bowie State and playing last season (see our initial report on this story for more details), played in this season: two non-conference wins against BR-126 Merrimack and BR-146 Brevard, a non-conference loss to FCS Central Connecticut, and two CIAA crossover wins over BR-127 Livingstone and BR-121 Johnson C. Smith.
The nullification process at the conference level will be applied at the conclusion of the regular season on Saturday, prior to the CIAA Football Championship game selection.
“We are very conscious about the impact of penalties on both the CIAA, the institutions involved and most importantly the student-athletes who are not responsible for administrative errors,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “This secondary violation is not uncommon for any sport and has been handled similarly in other conferences and leagues within the NCAA.”
The NCAA’s Principles of Nullification will also be applied to the five games in which Goggans participated for calculation of NCAA post-season rankings. The nullification process will be applied at the conclusion of the D2 football season on Nov. 14, the day before the NCAA selects the 28 team playoff field.
Opponents of an ineligible individual or team that competes with an ineligible player will not be adversely affected. A penalty will be applied to the won-lost record percentage. It will be a mathematical calculation that is relevant to football and reduces the percentage of the won-lost record.
In addition to the nullification of games, Bowie State will be excluded from any tiebreaker scenarios and also face repercussions as defined in the CIAA Schedule of Penalties (Appendix C; opens in .doc format) approved by the Board of Directors. According to the most recent documents available via the CIAA website, Bowie State faces a $5,000 fine ($1,000 per contest) for use of an ineligible player.
“Bowie State University strives to always comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations governing all aspects of university operations,” said Bowie State President Mickey L. Burnim. “We were disappointed to learn of this mistake and took immediate action to report it when it became known to us.”
Burnim noted that the compliance officials at the time that the mistake was made are no longer employed at Bowie State. Athletic director Clyde Doughty, Jr., who joined the university in January 2015, has assumed responsibility for compliance until the school hires a qualified, full-time compliance officer.
Bowie State travels to BR-104 Elizabeth City State for their regular season finale. With a win, the Bulldogs would finish the regular season with a 7-0 CIAA record prior to nullification (9-1 overall, 9-0 vs. D2 schools).
With five nullified games, however, Bowie State’s overall winning percentage would drop by .023 per affected game, or .115 for all five games. If only the D2 games are factored in to the nullification process for playoff purposes (as would be the case, since the selection committee does not factor in games against non-D2 schools when determining the regional rankings), the percentage penalty would be .092.
From a CIAA standpoint, Bowie State’s record for championship game eligibility purposes could drop to 5-2, meaning the winner of Saturday’s BR-62 Virginia Union at BR-84 Virginia State game could decide the CIAA North champions (read our analysis article posted on Wednesday for more details).