Oct. 27, 2009

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -The Eastern Washington University football team will be eligible for postseason play after the NCAA on Tuesday reversed a ban it issued in February.

Athletic director Bill Chaves said the decision means the Eagles will be eligible for the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, should they qualify.

Other penalties issued in February, including the loss of two scholarships and one assistant coach, will remain in effect. The penalties occurred between 2003-07 under former coach Paul Wulff.

"We are grateful that our student-athletes, especially our senior class, will have the opportunity to potentially play for a postseason berth," Chaves said.

Eastern is 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Sky Conference, and would likely need to win its final three games to be selected for the playoffs. Eastern plays Saturday in the "Showdown on the Sound" against Portland State at Qwest Field in Seattle. It marks the first time Eastern has played a game in the state's largest city.

"It gives our players hope," said coach Beau Baldwin. "But we do have to take care of business to give us an opportunity to possibly be selected."

Wulff, now the coach at Washington State, said the post-season ban was not warranted in the first place because it penalized the current players for a series of relatively minor past offenses.

"I think that (reversal) brings things back to where it should have been from day one," Wulff said.

The ban was appealed by EWU shortly after it was issued in February.

Eastern plays at Southern Utah on Nov. 14 and Northern Arizona on Nov. 21, before the first-round playoff pairings are announced on Nov. 22. Eastern has appeared in the playoffs six times: 1985, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Eastern appealed just the postseason ban and not the other penalties, most of those were self-imposed. The NCAA looked into a series of secondary rule violations, which, taken in total, led to a major infractions case. The university originally self-reported the violations to the NCAA in February 2007.