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Dr. Saturday

UCF winning bowl ban appeal is shocking, George O’Leary survives another controversy

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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.

(USA Today Sports Images)

When UCF appealed its bowl ban to the NCAA, it seemed ridiculous.

So ridiculous that CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd called for UCF coach George O'Leary to be fired then and there. There was reason aside from the bowl ban and appeal.

O'Leary somehow kept his job at UCF despite his role surrounding the death of player Ereck Plancher in an offseason conditioning workout. That was the worst of it, of course, but NCAA penalties over recruiting violations that included the bowl ban, along with a 60-55 record at the school, certainly didn't seem to warrant the school president's full support.

But UCF president John Hitt did back O'Leary and the football program despite what seemed to be long odds. And the bowl ban was surprisingly overturned by the NCAA.

The school's argument was that the NCAA treated the recruiting violations as one case, instead of men's basketball and football being judged separately. UCF was able to go to a bowl last year and it will go again if eligible this season, because there will be no ban, as the NCAA considered it "excessive."

"In its decision, the Infractions Appeals Committee stated that the rationale for the football postseason ban penalty is so intricately woven with factors only supportive of the basketball postseason ban that it is impossible to determine whether the additional factors formed a significant basis for the Committee on Infractions to impose the football postseason ban," the NCAA stated.

[Also: Matt Barkley regrets taking passive approach at USC]

Receivers coach David Kelly had to resign as a result of the investigation. Athletic director Keith Tribble resigned too. And O'Leary, whose most famous moment came when he resigned at Notre Dame a few days after being hired because of a fudged resume, survives at UCF again.

Multiple reports this offseason said O'Leary was actually close to a two-year contract extension that would go through 2017. In an interview with Sports Talk 1080 in Orlando, via CoachingSearch.com, O'Leary addressed his future.

"I'm year-to-year," O'Leary said. "I've always said I'd like to see us get into the Big East and then make decisions from there. That's still on the table as far as what I want to look at."

O'Leary remains at UCF and is eligible to take the Knights to a bowl game this year after the NCAA reversed its ruling, two separate items that are equally shocking.

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