The Burden of Bowl Ineligibility

It’s almost college bowl season again. But as we enter into the realm of million dollar payouts, some teams that would have made big bucks this month are stuck at home because they are ineligible. Several teams are missing out on pretty hefty paydays.

UNC- $2 Million

RB Giovani Bernard (#26) led North Carolina to an 8-4 record in 2012.

RB Giovani Bernard (#26) led North Carolina to an 8-4 record in 2012.

When UNC hired former Miami coach Butch Davis in 2007, it marked the beginning of a new era for Carolina football. However, Davis was placed under NCAA investigation in 2010 due to improper benefits given by agents to UNC players and for inappropriate benefits given by academic tutors.

Davis left North Carolina on poor terms. His actions not only resulted in the suspensions of three star players in 2010, but the NCAA placed UNC on probation for three years and ruled that UNC would be bowl ineligible in 2012. Now in a new era under first year head coach Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels finished 8-4 this season, and 5-3 in the ACC. Had the Tar Heels been eligible, they would have likely earned the ACC’s third bowl spot in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, which would have netted North Carolina more than $2 million.

Miami- $2.3 Million

Miami has struggled since they left the Big East in 2003. However, the program has also had run-ins with the NCAA. Miami is currently under investigation for academic compliance issues with the NCAA and the University of Miami. For the second straight year under head coach Al Golden, the Hurricanes have self-imposed a bowl ban.

Had Miami (7-5, 5-3 ACC) been bowl eligible, it would have likely played in the Russell Athletic Bowl, taking the ACC’s third spot and earning nearly $2.3 million.

Penn State- $63.5 Million

Penn State is the epitome of a controversial program. BEcause of the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal and head coach Joe Paterno’s cover-up, the NCAA handed down very strict penalties against Penn State. In addition to vacating 112 wins from 1998-2011, the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million (a season’s average revenue) and placed the Nittany Lions on a four-year bowl ban.

This year, under new head coach Bill O’Brien, Penn State finished 8-4 overall, with a 6-2 conference record. They would have likely earned the fourth Big Ten bowl spot behind Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska, which would have landed the Nittany Lions in the Gator Bowl, adding $3.5 million to Penn State’s missed revenues.

Ohio State- $9 Million, Big Ten Title, National Championship Bid

Led by QB Braxton Miller (left) and head coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State finished the season 12-0.

Led by QB Braxton Miller (left) and head coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State finished their 2012 season 12-0.

Jim Tressel was well-respected at Ohio State. In ten seasons, Tressel won six Big Ten Championships and the 2002 BCS National Championship. However, Tressel also cost the Buckeyes another shot at a national title this year. Tressel failed to report to the University and to the NCAA that several players had a financial relationship with a local business owner. The NCAA also imposed a bowl ban on the Buckeyes for 2012 because of the improper benefits given to its athletes.

Urban Meyer was selected to lead the Buckeyes in 2012, and he did not disappoint. Ohio State finished 12-0, third in the AP Poll. Had they been eligible, they likely would have been selected to play Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game, earning the Buckeyes $9 million.

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