Damien Goodwin, Trelun Banks, Keith Davis, Michael Harrel, Cameron Monroe, Bryce Clark, Calvin Godfrey, Frank Snow, YonDarius Johnson, Elex Carter, Tre Lynch, Dechriston McKinney, Malcolm Miller, Javan Mitchell and Christopher Hyder.
The roster for the 2013-14 Southern University-Baton Rouge Jaguars.
None of these kids broke any NCAA rules. Their grades have been sufficiently within NCAA guidelines. And they are all on the roster of a Division I school with a legitimate chance for an NCAA tournament bid this season. However, the NCAA may not let them play.
The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) rules have been out there for enough time now that most people are aware that failure to meet the guidelines can get a team a postseason ban, most notably last year’s UConn Huskies team. Typically, in April or May of each year the NCAA announces the penalties for any schools that fail to meet the guidelines. An appeal process of the penalties is permitted (for example Alabama State filed and won an appeal this year). After the appeals are exhausted, the penalties kick in.
The NCAA list of teams facing APR bans this season did not include Southern. The Jaguars were the defending SWAC tournament champions and played the first few months of the season well enough to be considered the favorites to repeat. Then, in mid-December, the NCAA apparently contacted Southern and advised that there were some discrepancies and/or deficiencies in the school’s academic data from 2003-2009…from a time before any current player had even decided to attend the school! Last week, the NCAA announced that Southern, due to these discrepancies, would not be allowed to participate in this year’s postseason, not only in Men’s Basketball, but for all winter sports, including their first place women’s basketball team, indoor track and field, and others. Southern’s AD’s office is still working hard to comply with the NCAA’s requests and the ban could possibly be lifted before ths start of conference tournament play. But it may not be.
In other words, this season’s Southern U team may not be allowed to play in the NCAA tournament or even the SWAC tournament because someone in the front offices at Southern U messed up transmitting data to the NCAA from 2003-2009. Is compliance with NCAA rules and transmittal of accurate information important? YES. Should we penalize these kids for the “sins of their fathers”? NO.
When the Connecticut Huskies received their APR probation, every player on the team had a chance to transfer to another school. They could simply walk out the door, find another college and have a chance at playing in the Big Dance. The same has applied to every player on every other team to get a postseason ban. Except for Southern.
Damien Goodwin, Trelun Banks, Keith Davis, Michael Harrel, Cameron Monroe, Bryce Clark, Calvin Godfrey, Frank Snow, YonDarius Johnson, Elex Carter, Tre Lynch, Dechriston McKinney, Malcolm Miller, Javan Mitchell and Christopher Hyder entered this season believing they had a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. But now that chance may be disappearing, without even giving them the opportunity to play somewhere else. Five of them are seniors who may never play another meaningful basketball game the rest of their lives. This was their last chance at the excitement of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday and seeing their team listed on everyone’s brackets. And now, for something none of them had anything to do with, the NCAA has decided to end their season early.
At this point, whether a fan of the Jaguars or not, all anyone can do is hope the ban is lifted before the SWAC tournament starts on March 11. If it isn’t, a grand jury should investigate the NCAA for cruel and unusual punishment. This is a complete disgrace, NCAA. LET THEM PLAY!