Scott Sutton must have been asleep at the coaches meetings this summer for the Southland Conference... The conference announced today that Oral Roberts will have to forfeit two conference games due to scheduling more than four non-Division I teams this morning. NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 is the official offense for the Golden Eagles:
An institution may schedule and play not more than four basketball games, including any contest (e.g., scrimmage, exhibition), in an academic year against institutions that are not members of Division I (Revised: 3/1/12)." This language is also reinforced by Southland Operating Code 3.02.02 (Non-Division I Opponents).
Oral Roberts will now forfeit their game on January 16 at Abilene Christian and January 18 at Incarnate Word.
So how did this happen? First off, there has been a lot of talk about the scheduling procedures by both Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian this season. Incarnate Word loaded up with a slew of non-Division I opponents and currently stands at 11-1 on the year because of that. Abilene Christian followed a more traditional approach and scheduled mostly Division I competition.
The kicker is that most schools get this portion of their scheduling out of the way before joining a conference. That was not the case for these two teams who play a limited, but almost full, Southland slate this year. Unfortunately both teams will not count as a Division I team by NCAA for scheduling purposes until they enter their next phase of reclassification next year. So in short, Southland members have been saddled with these two teams that do not count as Division I opponents.
Back to Oral Roberts...The Golden Eagles played non-Division I Cameron and Dallas Baptist this year and will also play the two new Southland members. The kicker is that Oral Roberts played Northwood and Rogers Statein preseason exhibitions, which brings the Eagles total to six.
According to a press release from the conference the forfeits will count for Southland records and tournament seedings, but the NCAA will simply count the games as "no contest" preventing further violations.
Oral Roberts joined the Southland last year, but has already reversed course to the Summit League. July 1 and a return to the Summit can't get here fast enough for the Eagles.
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