Even though the UCF Knights were beaten by the LSU Tigers, 40-32, in the 2019 Playstation Fiesta Bowl, some people in the Central Florida fan base still will not let anyone forget about the program’s 25-game winning streak and two-year snub from the College Football Playoff. Now, their aggravation is taking a new form, as one student-run news organization is launching what they’ve dubbed “Exposing InSECurity.”
The year-long investigation formed after Knight News, an independent, non-profit student newspaper serving the University of Central Florida community, decided they’d seen enough evidence to investigate two huge claims: first, that the Southeastern Conference receives an unfair bias, and second, that the College Football Playoff committee is a “cartel” that conspires to keep Group of 5 schools like UCF out of the national picture.
According to Knight News, following “bizarre reactions” during the postgame from LSU players in response to questions that the Knights actually challenged the Tigers, the organization is claiming that UCF’s rise “may prove membership in the SEC does not automatically make a team better than teams left outside the elite club.”
Knight News announced the launch of this massive undertaking on January 5, 2018. In the organization’s release, they showcased reporting of “prime evidence” of potential anti-trust violations in an email exchange between Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin and Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk. In those emails, Sterk sent documents to Stricklin in the hopes that Florida’s AD, who sits on the College Football Playoff selection committee, would “take a look & share info with committee.” Knight News claims this is a violation of antitrust laws in an attempt to get Mizzou a better bowl game.
Missouri’s AD responded by saying, “The materials that were provided to my colleague were readily available as part of our weekly football media releases that are distributed to college football writers across the country.”
Additionally, Knight News highlighted their goal behind this undertaking:
“The goal of Exposing InSECurity is to shine a spotlight on elitism that unfairly puts a program?s pedigree over performance on the field. We?ll do this by obtaining emails through freedom of information laws, and by asking tough questions of the controversial College Football Playoff corporation execs and others, along with other journalistic tactics. We will not be ignored. And we won?t back down.”
— Knight News Staff
The non-profit organization is looking for donations to “support our major investigation of elitism in college sports” via a GoFundMe page to pickup where the investigation of UF left off. The money is for resources to uncover emails from every single SEC school in the hopes that more evidence will show that the conference and College Football Playoff is a biased, corrupt entity controlling college football.
At the time of this publication, the campaign had raised $670.
Last season, UCF played a schedule of teams with a combined record of 68-73, plus an FCS-level South Carolina State team that finished 5-6. Outside of their last two bowl games, the Knights have never played a team ranked higher than No. 16 in the AP Poll, and they’ve never front-loaded their schedule with a team of legitimate standing on the national level.
With all due respect to KnightNews.com, this, like all the other UCF-led attempts of the past, is another cry-baby tactic that their program should be playing against the likes of Alabama and Clemson for the national title. If the UCF football program was good enough to compete in the College Football Playoff, they would get the nod.
When a team barely wins their two hardest games of 2017 — facing No. 22 South Florida and No. 16 Memphis — and then loses star quarterback McKenzie Milton prior to the end of the 2018 season, there’s no way that this resume is enough to get them into the big dance.
For a program that was 0-12 in 2015 and just played in a New Year’s Six bowl game the previous two seasons, Knights fans should be ecstatic to have the record and rising national respect they do. Instead, another Orlando-based organization is trying to diminish what the program has accomplished by crying foul and screaming collusion.
This campaign is a disservice to head coach Josh Heupel, and even Scott Frost before him, who have made the University of Central Florida a legitimate team entering the national debate, while still playing in the woeful American Athletic Conference.
Regardless if an elite club is actually colluding to keep UCF out, the SEC elite and controversial College Football Playoff selection committee aren’t just going to be overthrown, even if Knight News manages to uncover legitimate violations of the “cartel” that’s apparently running major college football.