Nov 17, 2023 - Sports

ESPN's College GameDay comes to JMU as postseason controversy mounts

Photo: Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The biggest televised tailgate party in the country is in Harrisonburg this weekend, as a national movement continues to build around the undefeated and 18th-ranked James Madison football team.

Why it matters: Expect rowdiness and lots of snarky signs directed at the NCAA, the buzzkill governing body of college sports that continues to dampen the Dukes' magical season.

  • On Wednesday, the NCAA denied JMU's waiver request to be allowed to participate in the college football postseason, according to the Washington Post.

Driving the news: ESPN's College GameDay — yes the show with all the signs — has at least nine trucks set up around JMU's Quad in preparation for Saturday's 9am broadcast. Fans will begin to arrive much earlier than that, with parking lots opening around 6am.

  • The Jonas Brothers will perform, if you're into that kind of thing.
  • And oh yeah, the actual football game against App State is scheduled for 2pm.

The latest: A law firm hired by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, acting on behalf of JMU, sent a letter to the NCAA threatening to file a lawsuit "asserting that the bowl ban violates the antitrust and, potentially, other laws," ESPN reported Thursday.

Context: JMU, which for years was a formidable program in the sport's second-tier division (now called FCS, formerly Division I-AA), is in the final year of its transition to the top-tier (FBS, formerly Division I-A).

  • The NCAA requires schools clear the two-year transition before participating in the postseason.

Yes, but: They've rarely seen a team be this good, this fast.

But, but, but: A nationally televised game and tailgate party will only increase the pressure on the big, bad NCAA.

Flashback: Around 14,000 fans packed onto the campus in 2017, the last time GameDay came to JMU.

The bottom line: Here's how to participate in GameDay, if you're headed there.

  • And send us pics of your best signs.

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