Why OSU quarterback Alan Bowman is ‘a good candidate’ for a waiver to play next season

Why OSU quarterback Alan Bowman is ‘a good candidate’ for a waiver to play next season

Oklahoma State quarterback Alan Bowman led the Cowboys to the Big 12 title game as a sixth-year senior. Expert Rick Allen said could return for a seventh season if he has documentation that he was unable to return after being injured in 2019.

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

| Dec 11, 2023, 6:30pm CST

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

Dec 11, 2023, 6:30pm CST

Alan Bowman is grizzled, by college quarterbacking standards. 

He started in 2018 at Texas Tech as a freshman, transferred to Michigan where he played three games in consecutive seasons as a backup, and then reclaimed a starting job at Oklahoma State this season. He’s dealt with a broken collarbone, being redshirted and a worldwide pandemic in his six-year career.

It’s that hodgepodge that makes Bowman, who will be 24 in March, a potential candidate to be eligible for a seventh (and final) season next year. 

Coach Mike Gundy has not explicitly said that the job would be Bowman’s next season. Bowman said his focus is on the bowl game, and he will figure out his next steps after the Cowboys play Texas A&M on December 27 in the Texas Bowl. 

Bowman threw for a career-high 3,058 yards this season and 13 touchdowns, as well as 12 interceptions. He would likely be in a competition next season for OSU’s starting job with Garret Rangel and Zane Flores.

Regardless, Rick Allen, a former NCAA Director of Compliance at OSU and the co-founder of Informed Athlete, said Bowman’s 2019 season makes him a prime candidate to receive a one-time medical hardship waiver.

How can Bowman return for a seventh season? Allen explains it like this:

“Any Division I athlete is allowed a five-year clock to play four seasons of their sport within that five-year period,” Allen said. “Since he started in 2018 at Texas Tech, his five-year clock is 18-19, 19-20, 20-21, 21-22, 22-23. His normal five-year clock would have ended at the end of last spring.”

Like every athlete, Bowman was automatically granted a sixth year of eligibility because of COVID. The seventh year on his eligibility clock would come from requesting an extension of eligibility waiver because of a 2019 injury.

In 2019, Bowman played three games as a sophomore at Texas Tech before breaking his collarbone. He did not play the rest of the season, which is significant.

The NCAA rule book lays out waiver requirements in Division I Bylaw 12.8.1.7.1. According to the bylaw, waivers may be granted ifThe student-athlete did not use a season of intercollegiate competition due to an institutional decision to redshirt the student-athlete; the student-athlete was listed on the institution’s squad list and was eligible for competition during the segment of the season that concludes with the NCAA championship; and the student-athlete was deprived of the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate competition in one other season due to circumstances beyond the control of the student-athlete or institution

In layman’s terms: If an athlete took a regular redshirt year (either one of Bowman’s three-appearance seasons at Michigan would count) and was deprived of a season due to uncontrollable circumstances (i.e. a season-ending collarbone injury), they could be granted another year.

Because Bowman broke his collarbone three games into the 2019 season, it is early enough to qualify. Allen said the important thing for Bowman to do is prove to the NCAA that the injury prevented him from returning to the field for the remainder of the season.

“Assuming he has documentation that it was serious enough to be a season-ending injury, that combined with either his redshirt year of ’21 or his redshirt year of ’22, he is a prime candidate to get the waiver approved for a seventh year,” Allen said.

If OSU and Bowman want to file, OSU will submit the waiver and it will go to the NCAA. Allen said a single staff member will be assigned to review the case, following guidelines and directives established by the oversight committee. Waivers of that type can take up to 4-6 weeks to evaluate.

Allen said the Cowboys could appeal the decision if the individual reviewing the request denies it. The appeal would go to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement.

“As long as there is medical documentation to make it clear and obvious to the NCAA that there’s no way (Bowman) could have returned before the end of the (2019) season, then I would think it would be a pretty quick approval,” Allen said.

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Sam Hutchens covers Oklahoma State sport for Sellout Crowd. He interned for The Stillwater News Press in 2021 and The Guthrie News Leader in 2022, where he won a first-place OPA award for in-depth reporting. He has also covered sports in southwest Oklahoma for The Lawton Constitution. He strives to tell you the OSU sports stories that you want to tell your friends about. You can email him at [email protected] and connect on Twitter (X) @Sam_Hutchens_

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