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Indiana Wesleyan withdraws from NAIA football playoffs

Indiana Wesleyan said it recently discovered that a member of the football team was academically ineligible and played in several games earlier in the season.
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MARION, Ind. — Indiana Wesleyan University withdrew from the NAIA football playoffs Friday night after discovering the team inadvertently played an academically ineligible player this season.

Indiana Wesleyan (9-1) was seeded 5th and scheduled to play 10th seed Kansas Wesleyan (10-1) at home on Saturday in the first round. Wesleyan's withdrawal sends Kansas Wesleyan to the quarterfinal round.

Indiana Wesleyan said it recently discovered that a member of the football team was academically ineligible and played in several games earlier in the season. 

The university said it self-reported its discovery to the NAIA.

IWU Director of Athletics Deane Webb apologized to KWU for the inconvenience of traveling to the game, which was due to kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday. 

"As is often the case in inadvertent eligibility issues, there were multiple circumstances that led to this unfortunate situation," said Webb in a statement published on the team's website. "We have identified those that we can control and are setting up systems to ensure that this does not happen again. I want to be very clear that our coaches have operated with the highest integrity, and at no point were they previously aware of the infraction.  They have my full trust and support."

IWU Head Football Coach Jordan Langs tweeted Friday night, "My heart hurts for the players and coaches who had no involvement in this inadvertent infraction."

IWU started its football program in 2018.

Tickets purchased for the game will be refunded immediately, according to the school.

Indiana's other NAIA tournament representative, Marian University (8-2), is the 7th seed and plays 9th seed Southwestern (Kansas) Saturday. It's the first meeting between the two schools.

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