The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee on Thursday decided that the previous guidelines for selecting 5-7 teams to fill bowl openings will remain, with the highest multiyear Academic Progress Rate being the determining factor. That means Rutgers would have the first opportunity among the 5-7 teams to be the replacement opponent for Wake Forest.
Bowl selection criteria for teams that don't meet the six-win threshold typically favor those with the highest APR scores.
A Gator Bowl official told ESPN that there had been no contact with Rutgers as of Wednesday night.
Texas A&M withdrew from the game earlier Wednesday because of COVID-19 cases and other issues that affected its roster of available players. Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told ESPN that the program was down to 38 scholarship position players, of which 20 were offensive and defensive linemen.
Illinois on Wednesday had communicated its desire to replace Texas A&M, sources said. The Action Network first reported and ESPN confirmed that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, an Illinois alum, was pushing for his alma mater to play the bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida.
NJ.com first reported that Rutgers planned to accept the bowl invitation and begin reassembling its team. The Scarlet Knights last played Nov. 27 against Maryland and were eliminated from bowl consideration a week later when eligible teams filled every spot.
Rutgers last appeared in a bowl game in 2014, the second-longest postseason drought among Power 5 teams, behind Kansas.