Yesterday the NCAA threw down their annual Academic Progress Report and the penalties that come down with it. Usually the debate that spawns from this time of year is why schools with lesser resources, mainly HBCUs, have to suffer and is the APR a fair measure for the academic progress of a program. This year the debate though seemed to be who the heck is ineligible and who isn't?
Many news outlets originally published that Southern University, University of Louisiana Monroe, and Chicago State's basketball programs were in trouble and facing bans. Today those reports have been refuted.
Southern, the reigning SWAC champs and one of the nation's best turnaround stories, even received a faulty press release from their conference!
A national news organization's website featured a picture of Jaguars star Malcolm Miller with a caption suggesting Southern faces a postseason ban. The SWAC public relations office also listed men's basketball along with SU Track and Field as programs facing Level 2 penalties, when in fact the track and field program is the only one being penalized.
Broussard says Southern's APR numbers for men's basketball are among the best in its conference, with a 969 score last year that is just five points shy of the national average for all schools. via WAFB
In Louisiana Monroe's case, the Warhawks were listed as level three offender and presented as if they'd be facing a multiple year postseason ban and financial aid sanctions. The Monroe Star cleared up the situation today:
The truth is, though, the Warhawks have been in Level 3 penalties since head coach Keith Richard took over the program in the spring of 2010.
The current APR average includes former coach Orlando Early’s last year from 2009-10, which scored in the lower 700s — to be eligible for postseason play teams must post a 900 multi-year average or a 930 average over the past two years.
ULM already suffered a postseason ban when the NCAA ruled the Warhawks ineligible for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in 2012 and the team has also been under reduced scholarships since Richard took over.
However, that will change this year after Richard and the university appealed to the NCAA, showing that the team drastically improved its APR score with a 909 in Richard’s first year, followed by a 972.
The NCAA lifted the postseason ban prior to last year and Richard will also be working with a full allotment of scholarships for the first time when the team takes the court this fall.
The third mishap came with Chicago State. The Cougars were listed to by many of the same outlets of being banned from postseason play when, in fact, the transitioning WAC program had a perfect APR score.
So who is out? Well for starters the SWAC tournament will be a dismal place as forty percent of the conference was banned yesterday. Grambling State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State, and Alabama State all are ineligible. For Mississippi Valley State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff this season will be the second in a row that they have experienced APR penalties.
The other two school's who received penalties are Florida International and New Orleans. FIU was hit hard as they transition to Conference USA and lose head coach Richard Pitino. New Orleans, who began the transition to Division II and III and later reversed course, will also have an uphill battle as the Privateers venture into the Southland Conference.