Jeff Monken candid about lunacy of 9-2 Army left out of bowl season: 'You're saying no to the 1.3 million people who serve'
Jeff Monken wasn’t going to let this slide. After leading Army to a 9-2 record, the team deserved an opportunity to play in a bowl game this season, even in a year when so many postseason contests have been canceled and teams have opted out.
Army is reportedly locked out of a bowl game currently due to contractual stipulations. Because other bowl games have contracts with other conferences, teams with losing records were given the green light ahead of an Army squad that would have an opportunity to hit the 10-win mark with one more game on the schedule.
The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel broke it down:
If you’re curious how Army gets snubbed:
Army committed before season to Independence Bowl vs. Pac-12.
So many Pac-12 teams opted out it couldn’t fill I-Bowl or Armed Forces
Armed Forces is owned by ESPN, which has guaranteed # of AAC teams, so it got Tulsa. I-Bowl screwed. https://t.co/QzHM3RRS14
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 20, 2020
Monken voiced his frustration about Army’s situation in a recent interview with ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. And he didn’t hold anything back. From ESPN:
“We had guys in tears,” Monken said. “We pulled off the biggest wins of these seniors’ career, they just won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back, that’s going to be their legacy, and they’re looking forward to playing in a bowl game one time together, before they go off in the United States Army, and we’re sitting here telling them, ‘Sorry, guys, you can’t play.’
“You can talk about a playoff system and people bitching about they’re not a top-four team, ‘Oh, we should be in.’ All we want is a bowl game. All we want is a chance to play.”
It’s been reported that Army will continue to search for opportunities to play one final time this season. Whether it comes in the form of a bowl game or another “unofficial” postseason matchup, Monken believes somebody should be willing to play one last time.
Don’t say no to Army, because you’re not just saying no to our team. You’re saying no to the 1.3 million people who serve on active duty all over the world who want to have that source of pride represented in a bowl game,” Monken said. “These seniors have made a pledge to put their lives on the line for every other college football player in this country, for every college football fan, for everybody that’s involved in these decisions. Somehow, some way, somebody should say, ‘We’re going to make a way for this team to play.'”
Monken makes a strong plea and has an excellent argument. We’ll see if anyone gives Army a chance to play.