According to a story broken today by USA TODAY, the California department of intercollegiate athletics has applied for a waiver with the NCAA to count the Grambling State win among the six required for bowl eligibility in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Every season, FBS teams are allowed to count one win against Football Championship Subdivision competition towards their six-game bowl eligibility total. However, those FCS schools must have awarded -- on average -- at least 90% of the 63 scholarships allotted to them under FCS rules, during a rolling two-year period (for this season, meaning the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons).
The Grambling State game -- scheduled under former Cal Athletic Director (and current Penn State Athletic Director) Sandy Barbour -- is in question because of uncertainties as to whether Grambling State has met that requirement. Those questions have arisen only in recent weeks.
Cal has asked the NCAA Football Oversight Committee for a waiver as a contingency plan.
"At this time, we have received assurances from Grambling and are fully confident that the program meets the NCAA requirements," said Cal Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications, Wes Mallette. "We believe our game against Grambling will count toward bowl eligibility. We filed a waiver with the NCAA as a precaution in the very unlikely event that Grambling's calculations do not meet the NCAA requirements."
Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY Sports noted that, as of now 70 teams are bowl eligible, for 80 slots, and that the committee will render a decision next week. Arizona State -- Cal's opponent on Saturday -- applied for and received the waiver in September, along with New Mexico, for wins over Cal Poly and Mississippi Valley State, respectively.
The possibility of not having enough teams to fill out bowl contracts is covered by the NCAA's rules, but, Berkowitz says, the "series of procedures" will likely come down to one rule stating that a team with a 5-7 record (Cal would be 5-6 with a loss to the Sun Devils) can become bowl eligible if it achieved "a top-five Academic Progress Rage (APR) in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the most recent reporting year."
The FBS schools with the five best multi-year APR scores are Wisconsin, Northwestern, Duke, Michigan and Stanford, all of which are already bowl eligible.