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NCAA Grants Waiver for Southland, America East, and Others

Schools around the country will no longer be forced to forfeit games due to violations of NCAA scheduling bylaws thanks to a waiver issued by the NCAA Thursday.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Our long national nightmare is over! We posted earlier this month that due to the scheduling additions of Incarnate Word and Abilene Christan to the Southland Conference that Oral Roberts and Stephen F. Austin would have to forfeit a game. The same was presumably true for members of the America East, Western Athletic Conference, and NJIT.

The NCAA Bylaw states:

NCAA Bylaw 20.9.8.1 states: "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).

According to a press release from the Southland, the conference was granted a waiver at an NCAA Convention in San Diego. The same waiver is expected to be issued to others who have fallen into the same trap set by the additions of Incarnate Word, Abilene Christian, UMass-Lowell, and Grand Canyon this year.

Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett commented on the waiver:

"We are very pleased the NCAA staff and the SLR saw fit to review this issue, and that our student-athletes aren't harmed by the possibilities of forfeitures. The Southland's Executive Committee has reviewed the outcome of the waiver request, and has rescinded its previous actions, and we are excited that all games we planned to cancel, or were canceled, will be played fully as scheduled or rescheduled."

The games previously scheduled for forfeit will now be played as previously scheduled.

I don't know who the incompetence should be laid on here? The NCAA, the conferences, the compliance officers at the schools? This just seems a little ridiculous. The effects go even farther when you consider that many Division I institutions cancelled preseason exhibition games so they were not in violation of the rule in question. Surely those schools would have liked to have had the extra on-court experience?