INDIANAPOLIS – Centenary’s men’s basketball team and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s football team will miss the NCAA’s postseason tournaments next season — no matter how well they do on the field.
The NCAA handed down postseason bans to both teams for subpar academic scores Wednesday, the first time college sports’ governing body has instituted a penalty it said it never wanted to use.
If scores don’t improve next year, those teams could face an even harsher sanction — the loss of Division I membership in all sports.
Scores are calculated based on data from the fall semester in 2004 through the spring semester in 2008. Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.
A mathematical formula is used to correlate a final team score, with 1,000 points being perfect. Teams that fall below 925 can be subjected to immediate penalties. Those falling below 900 consistently, such as Centenary and Tennessee-Chattanooga, can be hit the harshest sanctions.
Jacksonville State’s football team also could face a postseason ban but has requested a waiver to avoid that penalty. The NCAA has not announced when a decision will be made.
The list of underachieving teams showed a distinct delineation between those programs with a lot of money and those with less money.
Of the 85 teams penalized in football and men’s basketball, only 10 came from the six traditional power conferences, and none of those received the two harshest penalties — a reduction in practice time or a postseason ban.
One hundred seventy-seven teams overall were penalized.
Football and men’s basketball accounted for 76 teams, minus Jacksonville State’s football program. Ten schools were offenders in both sports, but only two — Alabama-Birmingham and New Mexico State — play in the Football Bowl Subdivision. UAB was the only school in the Football Bowl Subdivision to receive a reduction in practice times in both sports.
The SEC led the six biggest conferences with five teams penalized. Ole Miss was the only BCS school sanctioned in football and could face potential scholarship losses next season.
The Big Ten was next with three — Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State. All fell short in basketball and face scholarship losses next season, although the Hoosiers already implemented their penalty during the 2008-09 school year.
The Big 12 had two teams on the list — Colorado in men’s basketball and Oklahoma State in women’s basketball. Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team was the lone ACC representative.
McNeese State led all schools with eight teams sanctioned, while Nicholls State was next with six.
The Associated Press