Roman Banks puts Texas A&M on hold for NCAA

Southern men’s basketball coach Roman Banks has put his dialogue with Texas A&M on the back burner for a few days.

Aggies head coach Billy Kennedy spoke with Banks twice last week about possibly joining Kennedy’s staff as the top assistant. But Banks said a two-day visit to Southern from NCAA officials that began Monday has taken priority.

Banks was among approximately two dozen Jaguars officials who were standing by in case the NCAA wanted to visit with them as it evaluates the university’s process for reporting student-athletes’ academic progress.

Once the NCAA visit is complete, Banks plans to visit with Southern Athletic Director William Broussard and Chancellor James Llorens before resuming talks with Kennedy, with whom Banks worked for two seasons as Southeastern Louisiana.

“I don’t think we’ll talk again until I’m able to meet with our people about our situation here,” Banks said Monday. “We’ll meet later this week after we’re done with the audit.”

The university is attempting to get lifted an NCAA postseason ban that was instituted when it was discovered that much of the documentation Southern had supplied in recent years was “unusable data.”

The university has presented the NCAA with additional documentation and is outlining changes it has made in how it supports student-athletes academically and compiles and reports academic records to the NCAA.

Broussard said he thought the meetings with campus officials during the day went well, and he continued to meet with the NCAA well into the evening.

He described Southern’s presentation as “substantially better” than the last one the Jaguars made to the NCAA, primarily because the university has “newly added/identified staff to support student-athletes.”

The NCAA was unavailable for comment.

Though a resolution of the case is not expected to come from this meeting, the Jaguars hope to come away with a sense of whether a lifting of the ban will be forthcoming.

Such an outcome would not only help Banks make a more informed decision about whether to stay — if Kennedy were to offer him the job — it would also make it easier for Banks to sign some recruits when the signing period begins Wednesday.

Banks said he understands why recruits would be reluctant to commit to Southern before receiving some clarity on the ban’s status, but he added that he’s still hopeful of signing one or more recruits.

The Jaguars finished 19-13 after a 64-46 loss to Prairie View in the second round of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament last month. They won the league’s regular-season title, and Banks was named the conference’s coach of the year for the second time in his three seasons at Southern.

Banks has four years remaining on his contract, which does not include a buyout.

The NCAA representatives visiting Southern will report back to the committee on academics and membership affairs. Ultimately the committee on infractions will rule on the case.