NCAA's Division I Council implements new bowl selection rule

All bowl-eligible teams with 6-6 records must be chosen for a bowl game before any teams with a 5-7 record can be considered, a rule the NCAA's Division I Council implemented on Wednesday for the 2016-17 season.

The decision comes following a season in which only 77 teams were eligible for the 80 bowl slots. Three 5-7 teams were granted waivers to play in bowl games because of their APR scores, and all of them -- Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State -- won.

Now, only after all bowl-eligible teams are selected can teams with 5-7 records be considered, and their eligibility will again be determined by the highest, most-recent multiyear APR scores. Those teams will then select the bowl in which they will participate.

"It's impossible to project how many eligible bowl teams we will have," Big 12 conference commissioner and chair of the football oversight committee Bob Bowlsby said in a statement released by the NCAA. "We think we have a selection process in the postseason that makes sense and is fair to the schools and the bowls."

If two or more 5-7 teams have a tie in the multiyear APR, then the highest APR for the most recent single year will break the tie. This process will continue until all the bowl slots are filled.

Bowlsby said raising the bowl-eligibility standard to 7-5 was not seriously considered in part because it would have "put a lot of bowls out of business."

"I think the general feeling was the train had left the station and the expectation was 6-6 was where we'd be," he told ESPN.com. "The practical aspect was, we didn't think we could get there."

Any 5-7 teams that go to a bowl will be called "alternates," Bowlsby said, to help redefine what a deserving bowl team is.

"We redefined a deserving team a little more clearly as being 6-6," he said.

Last year, Nebraska had the highest APR of the three 5-7 teams that went to bowls, so under the new rule, the Huskers would have had first choice at which remaining bowl they wanted to go to.

"The other thing you have to remember is, four weeks out, it looked like we could be as many as 12 participating teams short," Bowlsby said of 2015. "We could've had a much larger problem than we had. And we could still have that larger problem sometime in the future."

While the Council gained clarity on what defines a bowl-worthy team, it still needs to determine how long the moratorium on new bowl games will last.

"On a broader scale, we still have some work to do," Bowlsby said. "We've done the things we needed to have done in preparation for the coming year."

The Council also spent time discussing what a mandatory 14-date season could look like, with the idea that every team could have two bye weeks in a season to help decrease the amount of injuries. Every FBS conference has a representative who will look at different scheduling models.

"It's a lot easier to say 14 playing dates than it is to get there because when you overlay traditional rivals that have to play every year, and you don't want to have somebody have two byes in a row, and there are those who play in divisions, those who play eight games, those who play nine, it's not an easy solution," he said. "We have to do some modeling around what it could look like for all of the different conferences. There is some evidence that injuries will be lessened without having to play 12 weeks in a row."

The football oversight committee created a "bowl working group" to study the issue this offseason and made the recommendation to the Council, which met Wednesday in Indianapolis.

In April, the Council placed a moratorium on the certification of new bowl games. No new bowl games will be played before the 2020 football season.