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CMU Submits Waiver to Remain in FBS, Awaits NCAA’s Decision

Central Michigan University’s decision Tuesday to cut its men’s indoor and outdoor track and field program could impact the school’s Football Bowl Subdivision eligibility.

With the elimination of men’s track and field, the Mt. Pleasant university is left with five intercollegiate men’s teams, which is one below the FBS requirement.

According to FBS membership requirements, a school must:

“Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20. Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams (males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams.”

CMU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford has submitted a waiver to the NCAA allowing CMU to still compete in the FBS.

“We have a plan that would allow us to work through the waiver period as we continue to research and return the department to full compliance,” Alford said. “That waiver’s been submitted and anticipated a positive response from the NCAA in the next coming weeks. It’s important to note that I still have 16 sports that’s required – the minimum amount of sports required to stay in the Division I status.”

CMU’s remaining 16 intercollegiate sports programs are: Men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s soccer, women’s golf, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s track and field, gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, softball and volleyball.

By dropping men’s track and field, 36-student-athletes are impacted and two full-time assistant coaching positions have been eliminated.

Scholarships for all men’s indoor and outdoor track and field athletes, including those who were enrolling for the fall 2020 semester, will be honored. Student-athletes are free to transfer to another college immediately without penalty.

CMU is one of several Division I institutions to have eliminated sports since the coronavirus pandemic began. Fellow Mid-American Conference members Akron (men’s golf, women’s tennis and men’s cross country) and Bowling Green (baseball) have cut sports in recent weeks.

Alford expects to have an answer from the NCAA shortly, and if the answer isn’t positive, he has various models to ensure the school is in full compliance for the coming academic year.

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