UNA football receives waiver allowing playoff eligibility

Senior quarterback Jacob Tucker drops back for a pass against Shorter in the homecoming game Oct. 15 at Braly Stadium. Upon receiving the waiver from the NCAA, UNA is now eligible to be selected for post-season play despite playing fewer games than the 10 games required.

The UNA football team received a waiver from the NCAA that would allow the Lions to participate in the 2016 Division-II playoffs, according to a press release sent by UNA Athletics Oct.19.

UNA’s playoff hopes were in doubt because of an NCAA rule stating teams must play a minimum of 10 games to be considered for post-season play.

The Lions’ scheduled game against Florida Tech had to be canceled due to inclement weather from Hurricane Matthew, thus giving UNA nine games on the season.

“The Division-II Football Committee has reviewed the waiver request from the University of North Alabama regarding the championship policy that requires a minimum of 10 football games to be played in order for NCAA post-season play,” said NCAA associate director of championships and alliances Donnie Wagner in a press release.

“The committee has reviewed all of the information presented by North Alabama and has approved the waiver request. Therefore, North Alabama will be eligible to compete, if selected, during the NCAA post-season,” Wagner said.

UNA (4-1, 4-0 Gulf South Conference) currently sits on top of the GSC standings as the lone remaining undefeated team in conference play and is currently ranked 10th in the nation in the American Football Coaches Association poll.

“We are thrilled that the football committee has come to this decision in such a timely manner,” said UNA Director of Athletics Mark Linder. “That will allow our team and coaches to focus on the remainder of the season without having this issue hanging over them.”

The Lions face the North Greenville Crusaders in a key non-conference and Super Region 2 game at Braly Stadium Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.