Arizona State informed the NCAA and Pac-12 that it will self-impose a bowl ban for the 2023 season due to alleged violations of NCAA rules that occurred within the program under ex-Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards, sources confirmed to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. ASU players were informed of the decision in a team meeting Sunday before practice. ASU remains under for the alleged violations as the program enters its first season under coach Kenny Dillingham.
Under Edwards, ASU allegedly hosted recruits in Tempe, Arizona, during the extended dead period that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was reported that at least 30 players visited ASU's campus during that dead period. Multiple assistants under Edwards departed the program in the time since the investigation before Edwards himself ultimately left.
Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement that the school will not be further commenting on the matter "in light of the ongoing investigation and our membership obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the matter."
Dillingham, told reporters Sunday that he was informed of the bowl ban by Anderson in the early morning hours and told the team later that day. Dillingham called the decision "upsetting" and said that the impact was visible among players during practice.
"There was horrible news [of the bowl ban] on a Tuesday [timeline] practice morning before we met for special teams," Dillingham said. "To think that 18- to 22-year-olds are going to go out and have a good Tuesday practice [after that] is absolutely delusional. But I think the guys battled and did the best they could do."
Arizona State president Michael Crow previously expressed frustration with the slow pace of the investigation, claiming to The Athletic in June 2021 that the "NCAA is moving in deliberate fashion."
ASU hired Edwards in 2018 before a separation agreement was reached three games into the 2022 season following a 1-2 start. The Sun Devils ultimately stumbled to a 3-9 finish and missed a bowl game after Edwards' exit last year.
Edwards, who was best known for his time coaching in the NFL prior to his arrival at ASU, went 26-20 during his time guiding the Sun Devils. The program reached a bowl game three times during his watch (2018, 2019, 2021).
The 2023 season is set to be ASU's last in the Pac-12 before it joins the Big 12 along with current conference-mates Arizona, Utah and Colorado in time for the 2024 season. The Sun Devils are one of eight programs exiting the Pac-12 next season, with USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington off to the Big Ten on that same timeline.
ESPN was first to report ASU's self-imposed bowl ban.
Bowl ban sours start of new chapter for Sun Devils
Even with the expectation that ASU will be in a rebuilding mode during the 2023 season, there's been a sense of optimism this offseason in Tempe amid the regime change. Dillingham, an ASU graduate, arrived to the program with a proven track record as offensive coordinator at multiple prominent programs, and the decision to name touted freshman quarterback Jaden Rashadaonly added to that excitement.
Alas, the Sun Devils will now kick off Dillingham's debut campaign with the goal of a bowl game already out the window, something that is a hard pill to swallow for any program in that situation. ASU added 51 new players this cycle between transfers and incoming freshmen, and along with Dillingham, they will now feel the consequences of alleged violations that occurred well before their arrival.
The Sun Devils are still set to take the field against a number of quality opponents in 2023 -- USC, Oregon, Washington and Utah are all on the schedule as preseason top-25 teams -- and Dillingham wants his team to make the most of those opportunities in wake of the bowl ban.
"We just have to be the very best we can be every day," Dillingham added. "What I just told the team is that nobody cares about your circumstance. In reality, most people in life would rather see other people fail so that they don't have to work hard -- actually work hard enough to beat [that team]. So everybody looks at this and says 'oh great, Arizona State is not going to be motivated anymore.' That is a win [for us]."
ASU kicks off its 2023 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 31 at home against Southern Utah.