Florida State has confirmed it is bowl eligible, able to play in Independence Bowl
It was alleged that Delaware State did not meet the requirements to be a bowl-eligible win for FSU
Update: Florida State released a statement late Friday confirming that Delaware State has verified its scholarship situation as eclipsing the 90-percent threshold, thus allowing the Noles' victory in the game count toward its bowl eligibility.
"Media reports suggesting otherwise failed to account for a long-standing NCAA rules interpretation that permits institutions to use academic scholarships and other forms of non-athletics institutional aid received by student-athletes in the computation of this requirement. These media reports represent incomplete information, as they only reflect athletics scholarships received."
Florida State secured a bowl bid for a 36th consecutive season -- what the school boasts as an ongoing national record -- thanks to three straight wins to close out its schedule, concluding with a rescheduled game against Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 2. The Seminoles rescheduled the game, which had been postponed indefinitely due to Hurricane Irma, to give the players a chance to play their way into the postseason and continue the streak. After beating Delaware State, Florida and ULM consecutively, the Noles received a bid to the Independence Bowl at 6-6.
But it's that 77-6 win against Delaware State that has been called into question, according to a report from Reddit College Football. After requesting and accessing a report from the school's statistics, Reddit found that Delaware State used 87 percent of its scholarship grants-in-aid over a two-year period. Schools are allowed to count one FCS win towards its six-win minimum for bowl eligibility, but that FCS school reportedly must have a 90 percent scholarship threshold.
It's a very specific, odd wrinkle in the rule for bowl eligibility, but given the lengths that Florida State took to become bowl-eligible, fans have been quick to point to this potential hiccup in the Seminoles' postseason status. Now what is being called a "monumental error" has resulted in Florida State having a bowl bid while Buffalo, Western Michigan and UTSA -- all bowl eligible -- are spending the holidays at home.
"This monumental error should have been caught at three levels: the school, conference and NCAA," a bowl industry source told college football insider Brett McMurphy. "It's too late to do anything now, they'll still play in the game. If it was funny, it would be a comedy of errors."
CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reached out to Wright Waters, the executive director of the Football Bowl Association, who believes this situation "probably happens more than" fans and the media realize. He further notes that most schools do not face this issue among their six bowl-eligible wins because it is usually as simple as "someone in compliance making a phone call. Florida State should have verified it ... [and] they may have." It should be noted that the FBA has no jurisdiction on this matter.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Independence Bowl officials are saying the show will go on, regardless of this new information.
"This is a matter between the NCAA, Florida State and Delaware State. We're continuing preparations for our game," Stefan Nolet, media relations director for the Independence Bowl, told the Sentinel.
Florida State and the ACC did not respond to requests for comment from either the Sentinel or McMurphy.
The NCAA has an option to extend a waiver to Florida State due to extenuating circumstances, if any action is to be taken at all. At this point, as most of the reports have pointed out, it's too late to make any changes with the Independence Bowl, Florida State and Southern Miss all set for their Wednesday, Dec. 27 game in Shreveport.
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