The Star Democrat

Rutgers is going bowling

Will replace Texas A&M in Gator Bowl

- BY RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer

Rutgers will replaceTex­as A&M in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest after an NCAA committee decided Thursday to adhere to an existing policy for making teams with 5-7 records bowl eligible.

The NCAA football oversight committee also announced that any bowl can be moved to as late as Jan. 10 if the schools involved need additional time to prepare for the game.

The Gator Bowl will keep its scheduled date and 11 a.m. Eastern kickoff time on New Year’s Eve, meaning Rutgers will have less than a week to get ready to play one of the highestsco­ring teams in the country.

“Better late than never,” read a tweet from the Rutgers football account. “The Scarlet Knights are going BOWLING.”

Rutgers will be making its first bowl appearance since

2014, its first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

“This program has made great strides under the leadership of head coach Greg Schiano and what better way to showcase that than at the TaxSlayer

Gator Bowl on NewYear’s Eve,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement. “It is an equally exciting time for our Rutgers fans to be part of this marquee game.”

Texas A&M pulled out of the Jacksonvil­le, Florida, game on Wednesday because of a lack of available players. The Aggies were having issues with COVID-19, plus they already

had been depleted by injuries, opt-outs and players transferri­ng.

NCAA rules allow teams with 5-7 records, such as Rutgers, to be bowl eligible if there are not enough six-win teams to fill all the spots. The 5-7 teams with the highest Academic Progress Rate scores have first crack at open slots. Rutgers is atop that list, though the NCAA did not

release the full APR rankings to allow schools to privately decline a bowl bid.

Having Rutgers replace Texas A&M on short notice was not a foregone conclusion for the oversight committee — even after Rutgers officials informed decision-makers on Wednesday that they believed the team could be reassemble­d quickly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States