Bowie State is one of three HBCU schools to make the Division II playoffs and California University head coach Mike Kellar is not happy about it.
Cal (8-3) beat Lock Haven 56-24 last Saturday to finish the regular season with four straight wins. The late season surge was not enough for the Vulcans to reach the postseason out of the Super Region 1.
Bowie State, who finished the season with a 9-1 record and a loss in the CIAA championship game to Winston-Salem State, received an at-large bid even though the Bulldogs played most of the 2015 season with an ineligible player to the chagrin of Kellar.
“I’ll just never understand how a team could be 9-1 and have played an ineligible player (and still get into the postseason),” Kellar told the Observer-Reporter. “I don’t know what message that sends. I just really believed the NCAA would step in and do the right thing.”
Quarterback Matthew Goggans started the first five games of the season before being ruled ineligible and the school self-reporting to the NCAA. Goggans led the Bulldogs to a 4-1 start before the violation. The NCAA designated the Goggans situation as a secondary violation.
Kellar told the newspaper that the ruling was problematic allowing an team to be rewarded for competing with an ineligible player.
“There doesn’t seem to be a deterrent,” he said. “Their record is showing 9-1, which is their actual record. I don’t know how you play an ineligible player and your record (stays) at 9-1. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
“It’s a tough job picking the seven best teams out of a region as big as ours,” Kellar said. “I have no problem with Bowie getting in without the problem they had. … What deterrent is there to stop teams from doing that in the future. I’m not saying they did it on purpose. I don’t believe that at all. As much as I have been worried about playing an ineligible player, I guess I shouldn’t be worried about it.”
Bowie State will face Assumption Saturday in the first round of the Division II playoffs.