Long Island is the two-time reigning Northeast Conference champions and the Blackbirds have their sights on dancing for the third consecutive year in 2012-13.
However, following an on-campus fight last month, the school suspended players Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere, C.J. Garner and Troy Joseph for their roles in the altercation.
On Monday, LIU released a statement saying that all four of the involved contributors have been immediately reinstated to the program. The news comes just four days prior to the start of practice.
“After careful consideration of the appeals of four members of our men’s basketball team who were suspended for their involvement in a Sept. 15 altercation on campus, the University has lifted the suspensions and placed the student-athletes on probation, requiring that they continue to participate in an anger management program and undergo counseling, as well as perform community service. Additional sanctions will be imposed by the athletic department, including game suspensions,” the school said in a statement.
However, despite the player’s reinstatement for the 2012-13 season, each of them, which includes three LIU starters, will not be allowed to play in the school’s first two NEC games.
Athletic director John Suarez added this, ““The University has concluded its investigation and has heard the appeals of the four members of the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. After a thorough review, the University has lifted the suspensions of the student-athletes and has placed them on probation. In addition to sanctions implemented by the University, the Athletic Department has suspended the four players for the first two Northeast Conference games of the 2012-13 season.”
Boyd, who is the reigning conference player of the year from a season ago, is joined by both Olasewere and Garner in the Blackbirds’ starting lineup. Joseph is a redshirt sophomore, who has yet to suit up for the team after missing all of last season with an injury.
Monday’s decision comes as good news for LIU as their expectations would have taken a damaging blow had this not been the case. With the return of their star players, the Blackbirds will once again be the clear favorite in the Northeast Conference.
Long Island is welcoming in first year head coach Jack Perri this season, a former assistant who takes over the program after Jim Ferry left for a similar position at Duquesne.
Long Island opens the season on Nov. 9 against Morehead State. The game will be played in Brooklyn’s brand new Barclays Center.
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