UCF to appeal bowl ban by Monday

Updated: September 15, 2012, 8:45 PM ET
By Brett McMurphy | ESPN.com

Central Florida's deadline to appeal its postseason ban is Monday, and UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said the Knights will appeal, despite a financial gamble that could cost the school significantly next season.

Once the appeal is officially filed, UCF would be eligible to play in a bowl this season until the NCAA rules on the appeal.

However, by appealing the ban, the Knights are potentially gambling a few million dollars in bowl money. And based on the timing of the NCAA's appeal, it could wreak havoc on Conference USA's bowls this year.

If UCF's appeal is denied after the 2012 season has completed, the Knights' postseason ban would take affect in 2013, making them ineligible for the Big East's more lucrative bowls when UCF joins its new conference next season.

If UCF wins the appeal, the Knights would be eligible to play in a bowl this season and next. However, if UCF's appeal is denied after the 2012 season has completed, the Knights' postseason ban would take affect in 2013, making them ineligible for the Big East's more lucrative bowls when UCF joins its new conference next season.

The payouts for a C-USA bowl range from $500,000 to $1.8 million for the C-USA champion. Big East bowls are worth $1.1 million to $3 million.

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn, not commenting specifically on the UCF case, said the amount of time for an appeal varies, but it usually takes 110 days.

Once an appeal is filed, the Committee on Infractions must submit its written response within 30 days, Osburn said. The school then has the option of responding to the COI within 15 days. The enforcement staff also has the option of submitting a response and has 10 days to do so. To ensure fairness, Osburn said, the school then has the option of responding to those within 10 days.

UCF president John Hitt remains hopeful the appeal will be ruled on before the end of the season.

"It depends on who you talk to at the NCAA how likely it is to get done quickly, but it is clear to us now that it can be done fairly quickly," Hitt told the Orlando Sentinel last month. "And I'm going to make a request that it be expedited."

Using the NCAA's average timetable of 110 days to rule on an appeal, that means the decision would be granted in early 2013 -- so the Knights will have been bowl eligible this year. Where this whole process gets complicated is if and when the NCAA rules on the appeal this year.

UCF's regular season ends Nov. 24, and the C-USA title game is Dec. 1. C-USA's first bowl is on Dec. 21, with the C-USA champion scheduled to play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.

So if the NCAA denied UCF's appeal a few weeks -- or days -- before the C-USA championship game or the bowl season, then the Knights would be immediately ineligible and it would create chaos for C-USA's championship game and league bowl participants.

Conference USA has no say in when the NCAA rules on the appeal and could possibly find out a week before its championship game or bowl game that UCF is ineligible.

"While the appeal is being heard, UCF has a stay and therefore is eligible for postseason play," C-USA spokesperson Courtney Morrison-Archer said.

On July 31, the NCAA imposed one-year postseason bans for UCF's football and men's basketball teams. Those penalties were in addition to a $50,000 fine, adding two years to UCF's previously proposed three years' probation, reduction of basketball scholarships, the vacating of basketball victories and tighter limits of football recruiting visit days.

UCF has accepted all other penalties except the football postseason ban.

Brett McMurphy covers college football for ESPN.

Brett McMurphy | email

College football reporter

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