The NCAA is prohibiting the creation of new bowl games for the next three years after three teams with 5-7 records were needed to fill the record number of bowls last season.
The NCAA's football oversight committee last week recommended a three-year moratorium on sanctioning new postseason games and it was approved by the Division I Council. The oversight committee started a task force to study the Bowl Subdivision postseason after there was not enough six-win, bowl-eligible teams last season to fill the 40 games.
The committee, led by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, will deliver a full set of recommendations on reforming the postseason in June, including determining what should qualify as a deserving team and how a 5-7 team should be placed in a bowl if necessary.
"Historical data of 'deserving teams' criteria showed that adding more bowls would cause the NCAA to have to dip into the alternate 5-7 teams, as it did last season," Division I Council chairman and Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips told the AP in a text message on Monday. "The new postseason structure, when it is complete, will allow for existing and new bowls to compete for `deserving teams' as that criteria is developed."
Three cities -- Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -- were in the process of trying to gain approval for new bowl games. ESPN.com was first to report the moratorium.
Many bowl games are entering the third year of six-year contracts with their conference partners. Letting bowls go dark if there are not enough teams with at least six wins and a .500 record at the end of the regular season is not a realistic option. The first priority for the oversight committee is to come up with guidelines for choosing 5-7 teams.
Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose were allowed to play in bowls last season because they had the highest Academic Progress Report scores among teams with 5-7 records. There were no additional restrictions placed on those teams and bowls were allowed to pick them according to their contracts with conferences.
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That placed Nebraska of the Big Ten in the Fosters Farm Bowl in Santa Clara, California, and Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, while six- and seven-win teams from other conferences were sent to less-desirable bowls. Two Mountain West teams, Colorado State and Nevada, played in the first Arizona Bowl in Tucson, drawing sharp criticism from MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson.