ESPN.com writer Brett McMurphy writes the University of Central Florida will by a Monday deadline file an appeal to a post-season ban in football handed down by the NCAA earlier in the summer, but in doing so, faces "potentially gambling [away] a few million dollars in bowl money" and causing turmoil for Conference USA's 2012 championship game and bowl selections in the process.
McMurphy points out if the Knights win the appeal, UCF's football program would be eligible to play in a bowl both this season and next.
However, if denied, the Knights' postseason ban would take affect in 2013, making UCF ineligible for the Big East's more lucrative bowls in the same year UCF joins its new conference.
The latter scenario could prove significant, McMurphy writes, as the payout for a Conference USA bowl ranges between $500,000 to $1.8 million, while Big East bowl games award between $1.1 million to $3 million to its participants.
UCF appears determined to see the appeal process through, however, particularly given that, using the average NCAA timetable of 110 days to rule on an appeal, the Knights – assuming their record left them eligible to do so – would have already played in a bowl game before a final verdict on the case was handed down.
Where this gets complicated, McMurphy claims, is if the NCAA happens to speed up the appeal process and delivers a ruling a prior to the C-USA championship game or the start of the 2012 bowl season.
If UCF's appeal is approved, of course, very little changes.
Should the Knights' appeal be denied, however, then Conference USA's championship game and corresponding bowl bids could be left in a true state of chaos.
Given that latter scenario, UCF president John Hitt says he remains hopeful the appeal will be reviewed and a decision delivered to the school by the end of the season.
"It depends on who you talk to at the NCAA how likely it is to get done quickly," Hitt told the Orlando Sentinel last month, "but it is clear to us now that it can be done fairly quickly."
Hitt adds that he plans on making a request that the appeal"be expedited."
UCF's regular season schedule ends Nov. 24, with the Conference USA title game set to be played Dec. 1.
The conference's first bowl takes place on Dec. 21, with the C-USA champion scheduled to play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.
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