New Mexico State’s Bowl Waiver Approved By NCAA
Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: New Mexico State’s Josh Carlson.
New Mexico State is officially bowl-bound after receiving a waiver today from the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, sources told Action Network.
The Aggies’ bowl destination won’t be determined until Sunday.
With the NCAA approving New Mexico State’s waiver, Auburn is eliminated from bowl contention. There are currently 79 bowl-eligible teams, with Buffalo needing a sixth win against Akron on Friday. There will either be two or three five-win teams needed to fill the final three spots.
Here's how the final three bowl spots will be filled:
- If Buffalo defeats Akron, the final three bowl spots go to Buffalo, New Mexico State and Rice
If Akron defeats Buffalo, the final three bowl spots go to New Mexico State, Rice and UNLV.
For New Mexico State, this will be only the second bowl appearance in 61 years for the Aggies.
Despite being one-win shy of bowl eligibility, New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia told Action Network he pursued a waiver because the Aggies (5-6) were not able to play their full 12-game schedule because of tragic circumstances.
New Mexico State’s Oct. 22 home game vs. San Jose State was postponed after SJSU freshman running back Camdan McWright was killed in a bus accident the day before the game. SJSU later canceled the game and refused to reschedule the NMSU game.
The Aggies tried to find a replacement game on their Nov. 5 open date. NMSU contacted Nevada and Wyoming — both schools also were open that day and since they had played at Hawaii, NCAA rules allow them to play a 13th game if desired — but neither was interested.
Moccia also contacted Virginia Tech, which had its game against Virginia canceled because of the horrific murders of three Virginia players, and James Madison, which was ineligible for a bowl because it was in its first year moving to FBS, about playing this weekend but neither had interest.
Since the Aggies didn’t have the opportunity to play 12 games and reach six wins for bowl eligibility, Moccia believed their 5-6 record should rank ahead of 5-7 teams because of a better winning percentage. The NCAA agreed, noting the extraordinary circumstances of the canceled game vs. SJSU and the fact New Mexico State tried replacing the San Jose State contest with an FBS opponent.
On Tuesday, before the NCAA’s ruling, New Mexico State added a 12th game Saturday against FCS Valparaiso. Moccia didn’t add Valpo for bowl eligibility purposes since NMSU already has played one FCS opponent but did so to allow the Aggies to play six home games for the first time since 2014 and to honor the team on Senior Day.