To make a long and kind of complicated story short, the NCAA ruled on Thursday in favor of a waiver that will grant bowl eligibility this season to Georgia Tech, even if the Yellow Jackets lose the ACC Championship Game Saturday and slip to 6-7. Usual bowl eligibility is a record of 6-6.
One more team being bowl-eligible probably means one less Mid-American Conference team landing in a bowl game.
Late Thursday night, MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher issued a statement on the matter. It is below.
“I am disappointed in the NCAA’s decision to issue a waiver. I could not disagree more with the rationale provided. One of the reasons for the development of the policy covering this matter was to clearly create a selection order to manage just this situation.
“These selection orders were developed with NCAA staff input and approved unanimously by the NCAA Board of Directors last July. To suggest that that the NCAA staff or task force working on bowl policy did not contemplate such a circumstance, when this same situation occurred last year, is incorrect. The policy is clear and understandable.
“What is lacking is the willingness to enforce NCAA policy and that is regrettable. All the Mid-American Conference asks is that the rules that have been approved by the member institutions of the NCAA be enforced. That did not occur in this instance.”
The MAC is hot, so good for Steinbrecher for speaking up when he can, and when his words might draw a little attention.
The MAC has just three guaranteed bowl slots but seven bowl eligible teams. The likely loser in this is 6-6 Central Michigan, but depending on other weekend results, Ohio and Bowling Green (each 8-4) could also be left out.
If Georgia Tech beats Florida State Saturday night, it won’t matter and the waiver will be, um, waived. But Georgia Tech is 6-6 for a reason, and one of those losses is a 49-28 home loss to Middle Tennessee.
There’s also the thought that Georgia Tech and Kent State could play in the Orange Bowl, but that’s about as crazy as this whole crazy thing gets.
It’s still been a great year for the MAC — and it’s pretty hard to argue with Steinbrecher’s thinking on this situation.