The Miami RedHawks will spend the holidays and bowl season on the couches of their respective homes.
Even though it achieved the requisite 6-6 record, the team learned Sunday afternoon it was one of four eligible teams left out of the postseason, joining Louisiana-Monroe (6-6), Wyoming (6-6) and Southern Mississippi (6-5).
There were 82 teams vying for 78 bowl slots.
“What really bothers me is these kids deserve to play another game,” Miami athletic director David Sayler said last week on the “Two Guys, One Emily” podcast. “They’ve done what the NCAA says you need to do to meet the threshold to play a 13th game. Just because there’s some arbitrary number out there that says we can’t, we’re not allowed to, like, I just have a hard time with that.”
Sayler declined comment for this story.
Last week, as a postseason invitation looked less and less likely, Sayler began discussing plans with Louisiana-Monroe for a non-bowl, 13th game on the Warhawks’ home turf.
Those talks fell through, and the RedHawks were informed at Sunday evening’s team banquet an additional contest won’t occur.
It was an improbable situation to begin with. According to an NCAA rule, no team can play 13 games unless it’s a bowl or conference championship game (the University of Hawaii is the only current exception due to its location). The Miami-ULM matchup wouldn’t have been either, meaning the teams would’ve had to petition the NCAA to allow it.
Louisiana-Monroe Athletics did not respond to The Miami Student’s request for comment on the situation.
After a slow 1-4 start, the RedHawks battled injuries and a tough Mid-American Conference schedule to earn bowl eligibility at 6-6 and finish second in the MAC East. Miami posted an identical record in 2016 and went to its last bowl to date — a 17-16 loss to Mississippi State in the St. Petersburg Bowl (now Gasparilla).
Miami fans jumped at the opportunity to support their favorite team. By Saturday afternoon, over 1,500 tickets had been pre-ordered without the buyers knowing the when or where of a possible bowl game. Those deposits can now go into the Football Excellence Fund, but Miami Athletics said it will contact ticket purchasers to confirm their options.