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Thursday, August 2, 2012
NCAA widens bowl eligibility

ESPN.com news services

The NCAA's Board of Directors on Thursday approved a new selection process for bowl games that includes a possibility for teams that finish 5-7 to be selected to bowls.

Under the new measure, if there are not enough bowl-eligible teams, or if a bowl cannot be filled by its conference affiliations, the open spots would be filled through a six-tier tiebreaking process.

The 5-7 teams, if they have a top-five score on the Academic Progress Rate, can enter at the bottom of the process.

Ordinarily, teams need to finish with a minimum .500 winning percentage with at least six wins -- five against other Football Bowl Subdivision teams -- to be bowl eligible. A sixth win against a Football Championship Subdivision team only counts if the FCS school meets scholarship requirements.

Now, first consideration will go to 6-6 teams with a win against any FCS teams, regardless of scholarships, then 6-6 teams with two wins against FCS schools.

A team that finishes 6-7 and loses in a conference championship would be next, followed by 6-7 teams that normally play a 13-team schedule, such as Hawaii and its home opponents.

Then bowls could then invite FCS teams making the move to FBS, if they have at least a 6-6 record.

Finally, a team with a top-five APR that finishes 5-7 could be selected.

Some think the news rules will give teams more to play for. Others aren't so sure.

"For me, personally, I'd be disappointed with that," Indiana center Will Matte said. "I think teams earn the right to go to bowl game, and I think that (getting in at 5-7) cheapens that a little bit."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.