NCAA Threatens to Ruin UConn’s Title Defense Before It Even Gets Started

Posted by rtmsf on October 25th, 2011

We promise to make our foray into jurisprudence short, but did you ever wonder why the American system of governance has been copied worldwide for the better part of two centuries? Even if in practice what it means to be an American hasn’t always withstood scrutiny, the underlying basic principles and tenets of the United States as written into its Constitution remain an ideal the entire planet respects and admires. Our system implies a certain contract between the government and its people — essentially, that you’re guaranteed a fair shake when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  This is one reason why the Founding Fathers wrote in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution that “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”  In terms of criminal law, it essentially meant that the Congress (or states, per Section 10) couldn’t go around changing legal consequences on people they don’t like after they’ve already been punished for it  — or, in simpler terms, tacking on another 20 years to someone’s sentence after they’ve already received a sentence of ten.  With some exceptions, ex post facto laws are generally verboten in America and around the world, and with good reason — they create politically charged after-the-fact situations where there should be none.

Will the NCAA End UConn's Repeat Bid Before It Starts?

Defending national champion Connecticut probably feels like the NCAA is channeling Chairman Mao given president Mark Emmert’s comments to the Knight Commission on Monday suggesting that the NCAA is considering a plan that would immediately raise the Academic Progress Rate (APR) threshold for postseason eligibility to 900.  You read that correctly — the NCAA’s Board of Directors will vote to consider the institution of an APR minimum that could keep schools out of March Madness a mere five months from now. Needless to say, UConn men’s basketball, sporting a not-quite-good-enough 893 in its four-year rolling APR average, is feeling a little unfairly singled out right now. School president Susan Herbst responded by diplomatically asking for more time:

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Reviewing Georgia Tech’s Academic Progress (APR) Problem

Posted by KCarpenter on October 5th, 2011

The Academic Progress Rate, a measure designed to roughly measure the academic performance of student-athletes that was instituted by the NCAA in 2005, has mainly been the scourge of schools that already have insufficient resources. While Southern and Grambling struggle to move beyond the post-season bans brought on by a failure to meet the required APR, the power conferences remain mostly unscathed by the increased academic requirements. The past year was an exception, however, when none other than the national champion, Connecticut, received a two-scholarship penalty and notice that future violations could result in much more severe penalties, including a postseason ban.

Georgia Tech Has an Academic Progress Rate Problem

The ACC, in the short history of APR, has largely been untroubled by the sanctions that result from this policy. The exception, however, has been Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech had the number of men’s basketball scholarships it could offer reduced by two during the 2007-08 season, and this year will have to work around another scholarship reduction. For a Yellow Jackets team that is coming off a disastrous season, has a new head coach, and that will basically have no true home court for the coming season (splitting time at the Arena in Gwinnett and Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta while awaiting completion of a new home), the scholarship reduction seems like salt in an already significant wound. While new head coach Brian Gregory seems cautiously optimistic, it looks like Georgia Tech may have to juggle far too many problems at once.

On the positive side, the conference as a whole has done very well at meeting the Academic Progress Rate requirements. Outside of Georgia Tech, Florida State is the only school that is dangerously close to missing the APR cutoff, scoring a 926 last year when the cutoff for immediate penalties is at 925.  The rest of the conference seems to be in pretty good shape, with Duke , North Carolina State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech all receiving APR Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA, and the others safely above the cut line (currently, and at the 930 cut line which goes into effect soon).

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“…inherited a tremendous amount of dysfunction”

Posted by rtmsf on July 3rd, 2008

The above quote is attributable to new Indiana coach Tom Crean, whose program was rocked again yesterday with the news that IU will give up two scholarships in anticipation of a poor APR score in 2008-09.  You may recall that the Hoosiers with a score of 899 already ranked in the bottom eight BCS schools in the most recent APR scoring.  Seeking to counteract an anticipated horrendous score based on the 2007-08 debacle (can you get a zero in the APR?), Indiana has decided to get proactive and attempt to take their medicine all in one lump next season.  Keeping in mind that IU lost seven players this offseason (not to mention a coach and an AD), Assistant AD Frank Cuervo had this to say:

It’s not necessarily about one issue.  It’s obviously related to the APR score. In terms of reasons, it’s not necessarily due to just players leaving.

Um, yeah, it’s not about players leaving per se; rather, it’s about players leaving an academic clusterf*ck in their wake.  Considering what we know about how Kelvin Sanctions with respect to his organizational management skills (almost as good as Tubby Smith’s missing fax), it’s not a leap to believe that most of his players at IU were barely skirting by in the classroom.  Several of them may have stopped attending classes altogether. 

Crean Needs Some Good News For Once

The NCAA has a lot of decisions to make in the coming month with respect to the IU program.  The NCAA Infractions Report is due near the end of July, and Indiana appears to have put its best foot forward throughout this process to retroactively police itself.  But we fear that the ’clean house’ approach may not satisfy the NCAA, who may use this situation to steer conscientious programs away from questionable-character coaching hires in the future.   Regardless of the penalties levied, with only eight scholarship players suiting up in 2008-09 Hoosier basketball is probably facing its worst season  since Lou Watson’s 7-17 debacle back in 1969-70.  And without snagging a few Eric Gordons all at once, it’s unlikely Indiana basketball will ”get back” until early in the next decade.   

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