POSTSEASON BANS ARE GONE: NCAA lifts APR-related penalties for Southern

Southern is open for postseason business.

No more bans for Stump Mitchell and his football team. No more waiting for Roman Banks and the men’s basketball team. Next year, they’ll be free to compete for Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.

The NCAA has notified the Southern athletic department that its APR-related penalties will be lifted for the 2012-13 season, opening the door the football and men’s basketball teams to compete in the postseason, Athletic Director William Broussard confirmed Thursday.

Both teams were banned from postseason play this season because of substandard APR scores, and this year, they were working to increase their multiyear scores to avoid more penalties.

Last month, however, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors approved a proposal to give “low-resource institutions,” including more time to comply with tougher APR requirements. The move essentially cleared the way for Southern and other schools to be penalty-free as they work toward fixing their APR issues.

The NCAA also gave scholarships back to the Southern football team and will allow Mitchell to spread them out among multiple players.

Last season, the Jaguars were allowed to have 54 players on athletic scholarship. This year, the team will have 58.73 scholarships, and can spread those scholarships among 80 players, Broussard said.

For teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, the usual maximum amount is 63 scholarships, to be spread among 85 players.

Last season, the football team had a multiyear APR score of 899 — one point shy of the NCAA’s then-benchmark for avoiding severe penalties.

The NCAA reduced the team’s scholarships, practice time and banned SU from the postseason. SWAC presidents and chancellors later voted to extend the ban to its conference championship game.

Southern finished 4-7 last fall in its second season under Mitchell.

The men’s basketball team had a multiyear score of 852, way below the NCAA’s 900 benchmark.

As a result, Banks’ first team — which surprised nearly everyone with a renaissance season, climbing from 10th place to second in the SWAC — was not eligible to play in the conference tournament.

In 2012-13, the Jaguars can.