NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - It appears there will be no NCAA National Basketball tournament for the SFA men’s basketball team this season.
The Steph F. Austin athletic department announced on Thursday that they would be petitioning the NCAA to move up their one-year postseason ban for men’s basketball to this season instead of the 2021-22 season.
The ban comes from a deal reached with the NCAA back in May after an investigation cited “lack of institutional control” after the department discovered errors made in previous APR reports. In the original KTRE report, errors in APR scores started in 2013 and the NCAA and SFA discovered that 82 student athletes from multiple sports competed when they should have been ruled ineligible. The error was first reported by SFA Athletic Director Ryan Ivey to the NCAA in the spring of 2019 when he first learned of the error that was started under the previous administration. It has been linked back to two employees: a former senior associate athletic director for compliance and former associate athletic director for academics.
The NCAA has granted basketball student-athletes a free year of eligibility this season so all are welcome to come back next season if they wish and have the chance to play for a postseason berth.
“Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the current COVID environment, the amount of games that have been lost due to COVID cancellations, the reduction of the NCAA tournament to one site, and the additional season of competition legislation provided by the NCAA, we felt that this was the appropriate course of action,” Athletic Director Ryan Ivey said in a statement. “While this is not an ideal situation for our student-athletes, we feel it is the best interest of our University, athletic department and basketball program to move forward at this time,” Ivey continued.
It has not been an easy season for the ‘Jacks. They have paused activities multiple times with seven games canceled and only one of those was replaced.
“After pausing basketball activities for the third time due to COVID-19 this season I fully support the decision to petition to take our postseason ban for the 2020-21 basketball season”, said SFA head coach Kyle Keller said. “I do believe it is the best decision for our institution and our student-athletes moving forward in these unprecedented times.”