James Madison bowl eligibility explained: Why is an unbeaten JMU out of the playoff picture due to NCAA rules? 

– James Madison has long been a football powerhouse. The Dukes appeared in the FCS playoffs 18 times and won national titles in 2004 and 2016. After the 2021 season, James Madison elected to upgrade from FCS to FBS and join the Sun Belt.

– This is frequently a difficult journey for many teams. Moving from FCS to FBS is a difficult task, and it normally takes teams a long time to achieve success, if at all.

– However, this was not the case for James Madison. In 2022, the Dukes won the Sun Belt East division by going 8-3. A year later, JMU is once again the talk of the Sun Belt — and the college football world — sitting at a perfect 10-0 with a home game against Appalachian State on Saturday, for which ESPN's "College GameDay" will be in attendance.

Such a record, especially in a weak year for the Group of Five, would ordinarily appear to put James Madison on track not only for a conference championship and a notable bowl game, but also for a viable look at a New Year's Six bowl. 

– Instead, James Madison is ineligible for both the Sun Belt conference championship and any bowl game, much alone one of the famous New Year's Six, due to NCAA restrictions.

– James Madison attempted once more to persuade the NCAA to reconsider its judgment and allow him to participate. However, the NCAA refused a postseason waiver request for JMU, as well as Tarleton State and Jacksonville State, who also asked for playoff waivers, on Thursday.

"We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the NCAA's review of our bowl relief request." "We're heartbroken for our university community, and especially for our football program, the coaches and student-athletes who have orchestrated an incredible season and earned the opportunity," James Madison said in a statement. 

– "As we turn the page, we have an incredible week lined up with College GameDay here and our final home game, so we're focused on maximizing these moments for our university and celebrating our senior class."

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