Despite being 11-1 overall, JMU might not have played in a bowl in 2023 after the NCAA denied a request to relieve the program of rules which limit teams going from the FCS to the FBS from competing in postseason contests for two years. Jacksonville State is in the same situation despite being 8-4 overall.
JMU wrote a letter earlier this month to the NCAA Board of Directors requesting for the Dukes to be eligible for a bowl game. The Sun Belt Conference also vouched for JMU in a separate letter. But those efforts didn’t result in any changes by the NCAA.
Here’s more about the situation.
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Can JMU Or Jacksonville State Play In A Bowl Game?
JMU and Jacksonville State will play in bowl games in 2023.
They can’t make a bowl game solely based on their records because of NCAA rules barring teams which transition from the FCS to the FBS making any postseason appearance for two years. However, the Dukes and Gamecocks can play in a bowl if there aren’t enough bowl-eligible teams with enough wins, which is now the case.
The intent of this rule is to prevent a great number of teams from moving up. A request to make JMU bowl-eligible this year, which was made in the spring, was also denied by the NCAA.
JMU is in its second year as an FBS program, while Jacksonville State is playing in its first FBS season.
Can JMU Play For The Sun Belt Championship?
JMU can’t play in the Sun Belt Championship in 2023. The conference was willing to change that if the NCAA had adjusted its stance.
JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said during a media call that if the NCAA had allowed the Dukes to become bowl-eligible, the Sun Belt Conference would’ve allowed JMU to compete for the conference title.
Could JMU Play In A New Year’s Six Bowl?
A New Year’s Six bowl berth is earned by the top-rated Group of Five team which won a conference championship. That means JMU can’t go to a NY6 bowl because the Dukes can’t play in or win the Sun Belt Championship.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the outcome of the NCAA’s review of our request for bowl relief,” JMU Athletics said in a statement. “We’re saddened for our university community and, in particular, we’re devastated for our football program, the coaches and student-athletes who have orchestrated an amazing season and earned the opportunity.”