U.C.F. Not Considering “Pulling” Appeal
By Paul Myerberg // Aug 1, 2012
A quick follow-up post go with today’s U.C.F. preview. The university has indeed appealed the one-year postseason ban imposed yesterday by the N.C.A.A., which if not appealed would have taken place during this coming season, the program’s last as part of Conference USA. If U.C.F. wins its appeal – it is not appealing the one-year ban placed on the men’s basketball program, only the one upon the football program – it will not suffer any postseason ban whatsoever, as you might think. If it loses the appeal, however, the Knights will be ineligible for postseason play in 2013, when the program joins the Big East.
A comment underneath the U.C.F. preview implied that the program could have it both ways – could put forth an appeal but pull back on the appeal whenever it so chose:
“If we head into the season, still in the appeal process, at a less than acceptable record (I believe anything less than the Liberty Bowl would be less than acceptable in this case) we have the option to drop the appeal and take our postseason ban this year. However, if the cards line up for a conference championship and the Liberty Bowl (or more), then we will continue with the appeal process and head into the Big East guns blazing. From this perspective, I believe it’s a win-win situation.”
If so, U.C.F. could hold this chip in its back pocket. If all goes according to plan, if the Knights finish with nine or more wins and atop the East division, the university could aim for one final conference title and a double-digit win finish and accept the ban in 2013. This would be in November or late October, for example. But if the Knights start slow, dropping out of the Conference USA race in October, the university could drop its appeal and accept the postseason ban in this coming season.
Yes, it would be a win-win situation. But it’s not one that U.C.F. is discussing. According to a university spokesman, pulling back on the appeal at some point during the season “is not an option that we have considered or are considering.”
Instead, the university is moving ahead with the appeal with one goal in mind: proving that the N.C.A.A.’s case lacks significant merit. If U.C.F. can illustrate that its punishment does not fit the crime – and George O’Leary has already been “cleared,” in this sense – it will gain a measure of compensation after being accused of some fairly damaging rules violations.
The compensation, in this case, would be a somewhat cleaner reputation, not to mention no postseason ban in either 2012 or 2013. That would be a win for O’Leary, the football program, athletic director Todd Stansbury and university president John Hitt.
Again, this means that U.C.F. is putting all its eggs in one basket; there will be no stepping away now that the university has started the appeal process. But would this “pulled-back” option even be allowable under N.C.A.A. rules? I’ve asked the N.C.A.A. for comment but have yet to get a response. I’ll update when I get a verdict.
Tags: Big East, Conference USA, George O'Leary, John Hitt, N.C.A.A., N.C.A.A. violations, Todd Stansbury, U.C.F.
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