UNO basketball teams penalized

UNO will not be eligible for the Southland Conference basketball championships in its first season in the league thanks to APR penalties handed down Tuesday by the NCAA.

Both the men’s and women’s programs failed to meet the NCAA standard for player academic performance over the past four years.

The men’s basketball program was assessed a cumulative APR score of 827, while the women’s team landed at 916.

The fact that the school went from Division I to declaring for Division III to Division II and back to Division I during that period — causing considerable roster turnover — was not taken into consideration.

The Privateers, after competing as a Division I independent for the past two years, become members of the Southland this fall and will play full league schedules in all sports, including basketball. They cannot compete in the conference tournament, however, and are ineligible for any other postseason berth.

“We are obviously disappointed,” UNO Athletic Director Derek Morel said. “Certainly, the divisional reclassification and associated circumstances surrounding our program over the past five years had an adverse effect.

“Upon our decision to remain a Division I athletics program we quickly recognized the absence of sufficient academic support resources for our student-athletes and have taken decisive and determined measures to create an environment in which our student-athletes can achieve academic excellence and graduate from the University of New Orleans.”

Toward that end, Morel said the school has recently hired Charles Small as its assistant for student-athlete enrichment.

School president Peter Fos stressed that the school remains committed to Division I and providing the resources necessary for success.