Georgia Southern’s second — and final — appeal to appear in a bowl game this season has been denied, USA Today reported Tuesday.
This season is Georgia Southern’s first at the FBS level, and the basis for the latest appeal was that the Eagles’ 8-0 Sun Belt record and conference championship should be grounds for admission into a postseason contest. That appeal — and also, apparently, that of fellow first-year Sun Belt/FBS club Appalachian State, who was also bowl-eligible — fell on deaf ears.
Wright Waters, Executive Director of the Football Bowl Association, explained the reason for the rule keeping out first-year teams to USA Today:
“The FCS members insisted upon it because they didn’t want people moving from FCS to FBS too easily, so they felt like this year of transition helped them keep their members in FCS,” Waters said. “We can debate whether it does or not. Then the FBS membership kind of said, ‘OK, sure we understand that, we’ll go along with that but our reason for going along is because (players) can transfer from FBS to FCS and become eligible immediately. They said, ‘We don’t want a bunch of people to transfer in May from all of our programs and in September we see them again playing for bowl spots.'”
“It was imperative for our student-athletes’ benefit that President Keel and I took this appeal to the highest level and explored the possibility of being able to go to a bowl game, and unfortunately with today’s decision, they have been denied for the second year to compete in postseason,” said Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein in a release. “Even though Georgia Southern may not be considered a ‘deserving team’ by the committee’s definition, what this team accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary, and we felt our efforts warranted a chance to continue to play.”