Postseason eligibility restored for UNLV Rebels - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Postseason eligibility restored for UNLV Rebels

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Members of the UNLV football team celebrate in this undated file photo. (File/FOX5) Members of the UNLV football team celebrate in this undated file photo. (File/FOX5)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas' football team announced it was eligible now to compete in the postseason several months after the school learned of an academic-based ban.

According to the school's athletics department, NCAA officials accepted an updated Academic Progress Rate score. UNLV's updated average over a four-year period was reported at 930, which is the minimum needed to avoid sanctions.

In April, UNLV announced it received a postseason ban with a 925 average.

According to athletics director Tina Kunzer-Murphy, the school's academic advising team examined the numbers again after the ban was first announced in April.

"I asked our group to continue looking for ways to make us better in this area moving forward but also to continue scrutinizing the numbers from the previous four years," Kunzer-Murphy said. "Our academic advising team was engaged with their counterparts at the NCAA and during this process got further clarification regarding some NCAA rulings and interpretations, which led to us reapplying our scores last week."

When the school resubmitted its APR scores last week, Kunzer-Murphy was not optimistic of a reversal. She was taken a bit off-guard when the NCAA came back with an approval. "We are pleasantly surprised. We are overjoyed," she said.

Head Coach Bobby Hauck, currently in Montana, told FOX5 in a phone interview the biggest benefit to the decision will be for his players.

"In college football there's only one reward system for the players and that's a bowl game. So they have an opportunity to play for that, that's great," said Hauck. "Most importantly they have a chance to play for the Mountain West championship. That's the big deal."

"Accurate data is the foundation of the Academic Performance Program and essential to the assessment of eligibility for postseason play," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs. "Allowing schools to correct their data according to our policies helps maintain the integrity of the program."

There's a long history between the NCAA and UNLV dating back decades. Maybe this is the start of a shift in the relationship.

"I'm very proud to say UNLV and the NCAA worked together to make this happen. How great is that? You don't hear that all the time," said Kunzer-Murphy.

The renewed eligibility will allow the Rebels to seek a repeat trip to a postseason bowl this year. UNLV accepted a bid to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, marking the team's first bowl in 13 years.

The Rebels' 2014 season begins on August 29 with a road tilt against the University of Arizona.

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