OR head coach Willie Taggart was hired to replace Fisher, but interim head coach Odell Haggins will lead the Seminoles in the bowl game. Reddit College Football first reported Delaware State did not meet the NCAA's scholarship requirements to count toward bowl eligibility and verified that information with DSU.
"For an FCS opponent to be countable towards bowl eligibility, the FCS program must have awarded at least 90% of the FCS scholarship limit".
Florida State will still play in the December 27 Independence Bowl, largely because it is too late to make a change. Delaware State's own data shows that was not the case, thus Florida State can't count their 77-6 win toward their six victories for bowl eligibility. Coach Leonard Hamilton had his players grade their previous game and come up with points of emphasis.
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Delaware State did not have enough scholarship grants-in-aid over a two-year period, as required by NCAA bowl eligibility rules, leaving FSU with only five "bowl-eligible" wins. The Seminoles had to scramble to get to 6-6, though, and the Reddit report is just the latest episode in a tumultuous season. It began with national title aspirations, but quarterback Deondre Francois sustained a season-ending injury against Alabama in their opener.
FSU reached the bowl on the strength of their 6-6 record. "It's altogether disappointing, especially after watching some of these early bowl games", Buffalo Coach Lance Leipold told McMurphy. FSU has since hired Willie Taggart away from OR to be its next head coach.
"This puts another damper on what I felt our kids deserved", Leipold said, adding, "I can't blame FSU, it's a technicality that got overlooked". The school could easily granted a waiver to compete by the NCAA, but Independence Bowl officials appear unconcerned with the report. As a practical matter, it's not realistic for FSU to be replaced by one of the three other schools with just days to go before the bowl game.
What has already been a odd December for Florida State got a little weirder on Thursday.