Some sad-sack college football teams could play in bowl games this season thanks to a decision made Wednesday by the NCAA Division I Council.
All 127 Football Bowl Subdivision teams will be bowl-eligible under the one-time exception approved for the 2020-21 season, meaning even a winless program might head to a postseason destination.
The Division I Football Oversight Committee had proposed the exception that was approved Wednesday.
In prior years, teams needed at least six wins to be bowl-eligible, but with all teams playing shortened schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic, that threshold probably wouldn't have left enough teams to fill out the 39 bowl games. There have been exceptions made previously, as in 2015 and 2016, when a total of five teams with 5-7 records advanced to bowl games.
"In keeping with the Division I membership's desire to provide maximum flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council voted to allow as many student-athletes as possible the opportunity to participate in bowl games this year," Division I council chair M. Grace Calhoun, the Penn athletic director, said in a statement. "The decision also provides some certainty for schools and coaches as we move toward the postseason."
In addition on Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council put forth a proposal allowing current student-athletes a one-time transfer without the need to sit out a season. The proposal reportedly would be voted on in January, and if it passes, it would take effect on Aug. 1, 2021.
Fall and winter sports athletes would have until May 1 to notify their schools of their intention of transferring, though an extension until July 1 would be afforded at those programs that change coaches after the season or if a scholarship wasn't renewed. Spring sport athletes would face a July 1 notification deadline.
Student-athletes must maintain their academic eligibility in order to receive the transfer waiver.
--Field Level Media