For the second straight season the University of Miami will not participate in a postseason game by choice. The university released a statement Monday morning confirming the football program, a win away from heading to the ACC Championship Game, will not be participating in any postseason game as an NCAA investigation is still ongoing. With Miami taking their program out of the postseason mix, Georgia Tech will be the ACC Coastal representative in the ACC Championship Game in two weeks, taking on Florida State for the conference's automatic BCS berth.
Per the Miami release...
The decision was made in response to the ongoing NCAA inquiry and the University has informed both the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference of its decision. The decision also means that should the Miami football team qualify for the ACC Championship Game, it will not be eligible to participate.
Interim Director of Athletics Blake James informed the team of the decision this morning, two days after the Hurricanes became bowl eligible with their sixth victory of the season.
Also from the released statement...
The unprecedented decision to voluntarily withhold the football team from a second consecutive postseason was made by University leadership, including President Shalala, the Office of the General Counsel and Department of Athletics leaders. Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the University to take but will also allow for the football program and University to move forward in the most expedited manner possible.
The fact Miami has made the decision to keep their bowl eligible football program out of the postseason two consecutive years certainly speaks volumes about how they feel about the current NCAA investigation. This is not a decision that comes lightly of course and given the potential severity of the accusations against the program it is clear the school is responding seriously. Perhaps Miami knows the NCAA sanctions that could result will be severe, as many suspect they could. The decision to keep the football team home once again is a tactic to hopefully lighten any potential sanctions issued, but we will all just have to wait and see.
As far as the ACC is concerned, losing Miami guarantees Georgia Tech will advance to the ACC Championship Game after defeating Duke this weekend. The Yellow-Jackets should be a considerable underdog against Florida State but the absence of Miami could also potentially open up a vacant bowl spot out of the ACC with nobody to fill it.
Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are each one game shy of becoming bowl eligible, and the ACC now has two bowl tie-ins to still fill. If Wake Forest loses to Vanderbilt and/or Virginia Tech loses to Virginia, this will open up a spot or two for some at-large teams, if available.