UCF won its NCAA appeal and is eligible for the 2013 postseason, Paul Tenorio of The Orlando Sentinel reports. The decision is not yet official, though Tenorio reports an announcement is expected on Monday.
The UCF athletic department was hit with numerous violation charges and given a one-year ban from both the men’s NCAA basketball tournament and college football bowl season. The university accepted the basketball penalty, but appealed the bowl ban on the grounds of punishment not following precedent. The appeals process gave UCF a one-season stay, allowing the Golden Knights to compete for the Conference USA championship and play in the postseason.
UCF reached the C-USA title game and lost a nail biter to Tulsa. The team routed Ball State in the Beef-o-Bradys Bowl, 38-17.
The Golden Knights join the American Athletic Conference — formerly the Big East — in the 2013 football season. Head coach George O’Leary returns quarterback Blake Bortles, a talented dual-threat play maker who passed for 3059 yards, 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season, while adding another 285 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
With its eligibility, UCF could be a dark horse challenger to the reigning league and Sugar Bowl champion Louisville Cardinals.