FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference has learned the NCAA Division I Subcommittee for Legislative Relief (SLR) has granted a blanket waiver of Bylaw 22.214.171.124, allowing the league to play what had presumed to be forfeited men's and women's basketball games. The NCAA reached out to the Southland and other affected conferences late last week regarding the Bylaw, offering a waiver opportunity that temporarily sets aside the rule's limits on the number of allowable contests in a season against non-Division I teams.
The SLR, part of the Division I Legislative Council, met Thursday morning at the NCAA Convention in San Diego, reviewed the request and issued the waiver. The subcommittee has the authority to review rules issues that come from extenuating circumstances and have a reasonably demonstrated widespread impact.
"We are very pleased the NCAA staff and the SLR saw fit to review this issue, and that our student-athletes aren't harmed by the possibilities of forfeitures," Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett said. "The Southland's Executive Committee has reviewed the outcome of the waiver request, and hasrescinded its previous actions, and we are excited that all games we planned to cancel, or were canceled, will be played fully as scheduled or rescheduled."
NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 states: "An institution may schedule and play not more than four basketball games, including any contest (e.g., scrimmage, exhibition), in an academic year against institutions that are not members of Division I. (Revised: 3/1/12)" This language is also reinforced by Southland Operating Code 3.02.02 (Non-Division I Opponents).
Stephen F. Austin announced the forfeiture of back on Jan. 8, after the men's team had already played three non-Division I teams this season, in an exhibition game against Arkansas Tech, and regular season games against Texas-Tyler and Elmhurst (Ill).
The Southland had previously announced the forfeiture to avoid violating the Bylaw. The Conference's Executive Committee actions mean the forfeiture is no longer recognized.
As originally scheduled, Stephen F. Austin's home game with UIW on Feb. 1, will now be played as originally planned on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 6:00 p.m.
During the 2013-14 academic year, Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word are not Division I schedule-counters as the new Southland programs transition from Division II. All Southland teams have single games against ACU and UIW in 2013-14, and have had to adjust to the non-countable scheduling aspect of playing these teams. In 2014-15, ACU and UIW will be Division I schedule counters.