So what do you do when the best team in your conference -- for the second straight year, mind you -- is ruled ineligible for the postseason and therefore ruled out of your conference tournament? You ask the NCAA for an exception.
That is just what the SWAC did this week after Southern University was unable to overcome the strange situation that has left it ineligible for postseason play in all sports. The NCAA and Southern announced Thursday that the school failed to provide enough information to accurately determine its APR score and solve discrepancies in the data that were uncovered recently.
With the conference in danger of having just six teams able to compete in its tournament in Houston, the league voted and asked the NCAA if they could have all schools compete for the conference title, yet send the eligible team that advances furthest in the contest.
The NCAA agreed, and so it will be a full slate of 10 teams traveling to Houston.
That means Southern will get to play, along with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling.
In the league release, it was stressed that this exception is for the 2014 tournament only.
But in general, this is somewhat good news for the conference, which has become more of a sideshow during the March Madness than a real player because of its lack of participation due to academics.
With four games to play, Alabama State is currently in second place in the conference and would have the inside track to the NCAA Tournament if it remains there.