NCAA: Southern has “significant amount of work” to complete

Southern officials are working overtime to try to get a postseason ban lifted for the Jaguars basketball teams, but until the university completely satisfies an NCAA request for a monumental amount of paperwork, each program’s postseason fate is in limbo.

The NCAA said Thursday that the postseason ban is “indefinite” until the organization “determines that the data (the Jaguars) have submitted is usable.”

The ban was instituted “because the academic progress data the school submitted is unusable,” NCAA spokesperson Michelle Brutlag wrote in an email responding to The Advocate’s request for details on the sanctions.

“The data were incomplete, inaccurate and the school could not produce documentation to verify the information it submitted,” continued Hosick, the NCAA’s associate director of public and media relations. “A significant amount of work must be completed before NCAA postseason eligibility can be restored.

“The data review process is a collaborative one that requires a school to supply quality, accurate documentation that follows the school’s internal policies and procedures. Often, these requirements are not met initially, and deadlines and requests must be revised to allow the school additional time to fulfill the requests fully and accurately.”

The disposition of the ban, which was instituted in early December and became public knowledge last week, will be determined by the Data Collection and Reporting Subcommittee of the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance.

The NCAA discovered the unusable data during a routine annual review that it conducts of 30 to 40 schools.

“Though Southern is not the first school to be deemed ineligible through this process,” Hosick said, “it is extremely rare.”

Southern has met nine deadlines to submit the requested documentation to the NCAA and hopes to complete any follow-up requests by Monday.

The Jaguars are hoping to have a favorable ruling in time for their basketball teams to compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and NCAA basketball tournaments next month.

Both Southern teams are in first place in the SWAC but will be ineligible for the conference tournament if they are banned from the NCAA tournament because the SWAC tourney champions automatically qualify for the NCAAs. The conference tournament is March 11-15, and the NCAA tourney starts the following week.

The Jaguars men, 15-11 and 11-2 in the SWAC, have a two-game lead on second-place Alabama State. The women, 15-6 and 12-1, have a half-game lead on second-place Texas Southern. Both teams play Saturday at Alabama A&M.

The postseason ban will prevent the Jaguars women from participating in the SWAC indoor track meet this weekend. The men’s indoor team was already ineligible.

“The NCAA academics staff continues to work with Southern on its incomplete data, and continued conversations are expected,” Hosick said.