Feb. 28, 2012; Providence, RI, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Roscoe Smith (22) , guard Jeremy Lamb (3) , center Andre Drummond (12) , guard Ryan Boatright (11) and guard Shabazz Napier (13) during the second half against the Providence Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Providence defeated Connecticut 72-70. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE
During the offseason, the posts I make on this site -- rare as they may be -- typically focus on which teams will be playing where during November and December. However, now I come bearing bad news, as earlier today, the NCAA revealed the complete list of ten men's basketball teams that fell afoul of the Association's tougher Academic Progress rate standards for the 2012-13 season. (For a searchable database of schools and their results, visit the NCAA's APR site.)
The following teams will not be permitted to participate in the next NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, and likely their respective conference tournaments. Note that two 2012 Tournament teams find themselves on the list.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC)
- UC Riverside (Big West)
- Cal State Bakersfield (Independent)
- Connecticut (Big East, 2012 NCAA team)
- Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley)
- Mississippi Valley State (SWAC, 2012 tournament champion)
- UNC-Wilmington (CAA)
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland)
- Toledo (MAC)
- Towson (CAA)
Now, I say that it's "likely" that these teams would not participate in their respective league get-togethers, but you have to guess that six of these teams will join the Big East's UConn and CAA's UNCW and Towson in starting the offseason early (CSUB is out of luck as an Indy with little to no chance of NCAA selection in the first place). Why? Well, as Brian Mull points out in describing the Seahawks' and Tigers' situation, a conference simply can't afford to give up its automatic bid by allowing an ineligible team to win it. Sure, the affected conferences could decide to have the regular season winner take the prize (as should probably be the case in many leagues, but that's a discussion for another day) or the tourney runner-up (in the case of the ineligible team cutting down the nets), but there are downsides to those approaches. In one case, why would have a conference tournament in the first place, and in the other, the auto bid "winner" could take a seeding hit with a championship game loss.
Of course, the whole punishing current students for the decisions/mistakes of the past aspect of this news doesn't sit well with me. My feelings are similar regarding the CAA's decision Tuesday to forbid Georgia State and Old Dominion from participating in conference championships this season, thanks to those schools football-driven moves to the Sun Belt and Conference USA, respectively. However, both GSU and ODU did know the championship participation rule when they made their moves. (Note that the ban could see the Panthers make their move a season earlier than anticipated.) Trying to claim relief against a cut-and-dried rule like that is a bit different than dealing with the NCAA's far more complex APR metric and all of the different items that could affect it -- players leaving to pursue professional careers, transfers, and using men's basketball to fund the rest of the athletic department via guarantee games and long road trips (yes, I'm looking at you, SWAC) being just three examples. Again, that's another argument for another day (or several, if we're being honest.)
In any case, I sincerely hope a post like this does not become an annual affair.
I've updated the 2013 Conference Tournament Info page with the complete list of affected teams.