UPDATE: Cal is going bowling! Statement from Cal Athletics.
"We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA. As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90% financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal Football's win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal Football is bowl eligible."
Cal might have to beat Arizona State to officially be a bowl eligible team by the time the selection process occurs the first Sunday of December. The Grambling State win is in doubt due to financial aid issues.
Grambling is a Football Championship Subdivision School, and Cal athletics spokesman Wes Mallette told USA TODAY Sports that the request was made because Grambling officials are trying to determine whether the school has awarded a sufficient amount of financial aid to football players for the game to count without a waiver.
Under NCAA rules, FBS schools generally can count one win against an FCS team per season toward the six needed for bowl eligibility. However, for the game to count without a waiver, the FCS school needs to have awarded — on average — at least 90% of the 63 scholarships allowed under FCS rules during a rolling two-year period.
Cal's current athletic administration, headed by Michael Williams, was not aware of this as a potential issue, Mallette said, because the contract for the game with Grambling was arranged by the previous administration, led by
Sandy Barbourwho is now the athletics directory at Penn State.
Mallette said that when Cal athletics officials became aware of the potential problem late last week, they began working with Grambling officials.
Although it's not official, Cal has issued a statement that Grambling is confident their sixth win will count toward bowl eligibility. Statement from Cal Athletics via Jeff Faraudo.
"At this time, we have received assurances from Grambling and are fully confident that the program meets the NCAA requirements. We believe our game against Grambling will count toward bowl eligibility. We filed a waiver with the NCAA as a precaution in the very unlikely event that Grambling's calculations do not meet the NCAA requirements."
Cal is still in good shape to make a bowl game even if the waiver is denied, since bowls are struggling to fill in all their slots with 6-6 and over teams. But it could be the difference between a Pac-12-related bowl or a random weird bowl somewhere in the middle of nowhere against a G5 opponent.
If Cal does obtain bowl eligbility, the Bears are currently projected to bowls like the Las Vegas, Cactus, and now Independence Bowl in Shreveport by the major bowl prognosticators.