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NCAA Basketball Saint Mary's GaelsWCC Basketball

St. Mary’s Gaels Get Hit with Four Year Probation by NCAA

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Mary’s Gaels better make the NCAA Tournament this year.

The NCAA has announced that the St. Mary’s basketball program is going to start a four year probation period, reduction in scholarships, and a five-game suspension for coach Randy Bennett starting next season. This is the end of the NCAA looking at the Gaels for “failure to monitor”, “unethical conduct” and “failure to promote atmosphere of compliance”.

All of the accusations, now facts I suppose, stem from Bennett (and former assistant David Patrick) providing improper travel arrangements and accommodations while trying to lure in some international players to the program. Patrick, who is no longer with the team, also received a two-year show cause penalty. All that means is that if any school wanted to hire him, the university would have to get NCAA approval first. Patrick is currently on the LSU Tigers coaching staff.

This is a huge blow to the basketball program. Four years of postseason play taken away, reduction in scholarships, and a general stain on the program will make it hard for Bennett to keep the Gales relevant in the west coast, nevertheless the nation. While not the “Death Penalty”, this is about as close as it comes for a basketball program.

The probation technically starts today and doesn’t end until February 28th, 2017. Or put in another way, a whole coach’s recruiting cycle.

Say bye-bye to the St. Mary’s basketball program after this year. We won’t be seeing them for a long time. Good for you NCAA, laying the hammer down on a smaller school. Glad to see you’ve learned from your mistakes of the past.

Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone