San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Just two days away from possibly earning the first FCS playoff bid in Pioneer Football League history, the University of San Diego withdrew from consideration Thursday amidst concerns of potential violations.
USD president Dr. Mary E. Lyons said in a letter to the university community that the way the Toreros athletics program awards need-based financial aid to football players is incompatible with PFL rules.
"This issue is specific to football and does not nor will it affect our other sports," Dr. Lyons wrote.
"I recognize the impact that this situation has on our student-athletes, Torero Athletics and our entire university community. Our response now and going forward reflects a commitment to our students and to the highest standards of integrity. To that end, complying with applicable rules and regulations in the administration of our intercollegiate athletic programs continues to be our unwavering commitment."
The PFL champion is receiving an automatic qualifying bid to the FCS playoffs for the first time this season. San Diego (7-3, 6-1) could have captured the bid with a home win over Drake in its final regular-season game on Saturday.
In addition to the playoff bid, USD has withdrawn itself from consideration for the PFL title, league spokesman Cody Bush said.
In the 12-team PFL, which has unbalanced scheduling, the playoff bid will go to Butler (8-3, 6-1), Marist (7-3, 6-1), Mercer (9-1, 5-1) or Drake (6-4, 5-2). There are two weekends remaining in the regular season.