Rarely do you hear about a FCS team making any kind of trending news, unless they are one of two things. 1. Moving up to the FBS or 2. North Dakota State. The Jacksonville University Dolphins football team are neither or those, but they are involved in something that will probably make your head spin.
According to College Football Talk, the Pioneer Football League, the conference the Dolphins play in, have dropped some pretty heavy violations onto the team. They have been smacked with a one-year postseason ban for allegedly awarding inappropriate amounts of financial aid to its football players.
The Pioneer Football League is a football-only conference made up of eleven teams. Therefore, teams are not allowed to give out football scholarships. An internal review, however, provided information that the Dolphins never violated NCAA regulations.
The postseason ban seems bad enough, but that was really only the beginning for the Dolphins. In addition to the postseason ban and accepting the self-imposed penalties, the Pioneer Football League reduced the number of roster positions for the program from 130 to 96 and three coaching positions. According to Jacksonville.com, the university also lost its junior varsity program. That is crippling for a program like Jacksonville.
“I’m heartbroken by it. I’m heartbroken by it because of the kids,” Jacksonville athletic director Donnie Horner said, per Jacksonville.com. “These returning seniors, these returning sophomores, these returning juniors, this is effectively their second year [of punishment]. And that’s painful for those kids. But it’s clear to me in conversations with the league that they decided to impose the ban this year because of the severity of our not adhering to the PFL financial aid rules. These are not trivial, miniscule differences.”
The Dolphins went 9-2 in 2014 and open the 2015 season on the road against former FCS power Delaware on September 4.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports