Southern University received notification Friday that a waiver request submitted to allow the men’s basketball team to play in the 2012 postseason will not be heard by the NCAA.
“On behalf of the Southern men’s basketball program, I would like to express our disappointment in our waiver request failing to warrant consideration in the view of the NCAA,” interim athletic director Sandy Pugh said in a statement. “However, we continue to make every effort to ensure that the academic progress our men’s basketball program has made will continue and will encourage all athletic programs to strive to excel academically and athletically.”
Southern, which is serving a one-year postseason ban due to substandard academic performance results, requested the waiver last month at the urging of NCAA officials during the association’s winter conference held in December.
The NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate measures the academic performance of student athletes at all Division I institutions by tracking eligibility and retention scores. Under new rules that were adopted in October, teams must have a two-year average APR score of 930 or a four-year average of 900.
In its waiver request, Southern stated that it took several measures to address the program’s low APR scores, including hiring a new men’s basketball coach (Roman Banks) and instituting an academic tracking system. As a result, Southern’s score for the 2010-11 school year is projected to be about 954, drastically up from the 2009-10 score of 780. But that still gives Southern a two-year score of 867, well below the necessary 930 mark. (Southern’s four-year score is not known exactly, but is well below the necessary 900 benchmark.)
Southern’s waiver request also noted that the men’s basketball program achieved perfect APR eligibility and retention scores for the fall 2011 semester.