NCAA bans SU winter sports from postseason play

The Southern men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s bowling team will not be able to compete in the NCAA postseason, according to a joint statement issued by the university and the NCAA late Thursday afternoon.

All of the Jaguars athletic teams have been banned from post-season competition since December, but Southern has been working to get the ban lifted in time for the winter sports teams to participate.

The NCAA concluded that insufficient time exists for a ruling to me made for the winter sports teams to participate. The Southwestern Athletic Conference basketball tournaments start March 11 and the NCAA tournaments start a week later.

“A significant amount of work must be completed before NCAA postseason eligibility for Southern’s teams can be restored,” the joint statement said. “Therefore, it is not feasible for Southern’s winter sports to participate in postseason competition.”

The news release was issued while the men’s basketball team was practicing. No athletes were available for comment and men’s basketball coach Roman Banks was the only university representative to speak.

“It’s hard right now, a lot of tears,” Banks said. “Everyone is kind of just numb right now. I don’t know the correct words right now to say to lift them up, but I apologized because they believe in you and what you’re all about and they believe in the university and it doesn’t turn out the way they would like it to and it’s out of their control. You can’t help but feel down and hurt.”

Jaguars athletic director William Broussard, Chancellor James Llorens and a 12-member task force have been supplying documents related to student-athletes’ academic performance in recent years.

A routine NCAA review of Southern’s records in the fall uncovered “unusable data.” Since then the university has tried to satisfy NCAA requests for missing data.

“Since this December notification,” the statement read, “Southern’s submissions have been incomplete or inaccurate at deadline.”

Banks praised Broussard and his team for trying to meet the deadline against long odds.

He added that he felt it was unfair for the players to be punished when they didn’t do anything wrong, but he added, “I also understand how the NCAA works and there’s a thing called institutional control.”

The Southern men have clinched at least a tie for the SWAC regular-season title and the women are in second place, a half-game behind Texas Southern. Both teams have three games remaining, beginning at Alcorn State on Saturday.

“The timing is bad,” Banks said, “but I don’t know if there’s ever a right time.”