Suddenly the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament looks like it'll be a ghost town in Richmond next March. The NCAA ruled on Wednesday that both the Towson Tigers and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks will be ineligible for postseason play in men's basketball due to low Academic Performance Rating (APR) scores.
With these teams gone along with the Old Dominion Monarchs, Georgia St. Panthers and the Va. Commonwealth Rams, only seven teams will be playing in Richmond for the CAA's automatic NCAA tournament bid.
The ban is only for one season and Towson is expected to regain eligibility next season as their APR number looks to be at 938, up from 800 in 2010-11.
Towson president Maravene Loeschke addressed the postseason ban on the school's athletic website.
I am very proud of the hard work that the department of athletics has done in the past year to address this issue. Although I am disappointed in the ruling by the NCAA, I am confident that our new leadership and staff will have the Tigers competing for championships.
Towson athletic director Mike Waddell also addressed the situation, saying that NCAA didn't give Towson enough time to address their low score from the previous year.
President Maravene Loeschke and I support academic reform which the NCAA is pursuing with its newly detailed APR legislation, but we are disappointed that our appeals have been denied and the critical specifics of our case were not recognized. The legislation which was passed last fall and quickly implemented for the upcoming 2012-13 season was done so without an opportunity for Towson's new athletics administration and coaching staff to take corrective measures which impact our score, which we have done. The end result is that this penalty will negatively affect a group of student-athletes who were not responsible for the deficient academic performance of past student-athletes, coaches and administrators, all of whom are no longer associated with Towson University.
While the NCAA does have their heart in the right place with trying to make academic reforms, punishing the current crop of student-athletes who did not have a part in the current scores should not be an option. Unfortunately, Towson and UNC-Wilmington are both going to have to take a step back and put systems in place to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.