The three-time national champion Connecticut Huskies are one of a record ten men’s NCAA basketball teams to be banned from playing in the post-season next year due to poor academic scores.
Based on the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores released Wednesday, the Huskies are just one of many schools that will not be eligible for next season’s NCAA Tournament.
Though UCONN is the first and only program from a “major” conference to receive the punishment, other schools will be sitting out with them, including Arkansas Pine-Bluff, California-Riverside, Cal State Bakersfield (still under review), Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, North Caroline-Wilmington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo, and Towson.
Each of the above teams team faced additional sanctions as well, including a loss of at least four hours of practice time per week to be replaced by academic activities, scholarship reductions, and potential recruiting and coaching restrictions.
The programs could also be banned from conference post-season play as well, though the rule varies from conference to conference.
The NCAA requires that four-year APR scores be above 900, and two-year APR scores be above 930.
Each team that fell below the standard was looked at individually by the NCAA, and the teams that received the bans had four-year APRs ranging from 865-890.
Some programs, such as the Arkansas Razorbacks, had four-year scores below 900, but did not receive post-season bans because their two-year scores were above 930. Other schools fell below the mark as well, but because the NCAA determined them to have “limited resources”, the NCAA did not dole out the same punishment.
On the other hand, the Kansas Jayhawks, last season’s runner-up, the Memphis Tigers, the Michigan Wolverines, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Texas Longhorns were among 11 men’s basketball programs that scored a perfect 1000.
I think it’s great that the NCAA is sending a clear message that academics should be the top priorities of these programs; it is after all college basketball. They just need to figure out a way to be more consistent.