CROMWELL, Conn. (WFAN/AP) – UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said Wednesday the school would continue to fight what it believes was an unfair process that led to the banning of its men’s basketball team from the 2013 postseason, but he does not believe the punishment will be overturned.
His comments came as the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate report for the 2010-2011 academic year, and Connecticut, as expected, received a 978 of a possible 1,000.
Manuel, in Cromwell to participate in the pro-am event at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, called the score “outstanding.”
But it is not high enough to offset low scores from previous years and allow the team to qualify for the tournament.
Under rules implemented last October, the NCAA requires a team to have a 900 average over four years or a 930 over two years to qualify for its postseason.
Connecticut men’s basketball scored 826 on the APR for 2009-10. The school’s four-year score is 889 and its two-year average is 902.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California-Riverside, Cal State Bakersfield, Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo and Towson will also be forced to watch from the sideline next March.
UConn knew last fall it would be banned and in January filed an appeal for an NCAA waiver, citing improving academics and other changes in the program. But that appeal was denied.
Manuel said the school was still urging the NCAA to use data from 2011-12, something he says would make the school eligible. He said the team expects another high score for the season that just ended, though all those numbers are not yet in.
The NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance is expected to discuss the rule changes at a meeting next month, but Manuel said the school holds out “little hope” that anything will change before next year’s tournament.
“It doesn’t mean we are going to roll over and just accept it and not talk about it,” Manuel said.
He said he had not been in contact with any of the other schools facing a postseason ban and is not contemplating legal action.
“I feel we have to react to this in the process,” he said. “And that’s why I’m so frustrated that the process of the NCAA was accelerated and didn’t give us time. But we are a member of the NCAA and we are part of the process, and we will handle it that way.”
Walter Harrison, the chairman of the Committee on Academic Performance and the president of the University of Hartford, said his committee will review the process with an eye toward the future.
“I do not expect us to make any changes retrospectively,” he said. “If we make changes – and I’m not sure that we will make any – that would be done prospectively, I believe. And I think there’s very little chance we’re going to change anything.”
The Big East conference also has said UConn will be banned from its postseason as a result of the NCAA ban.
“We’ll have to adjust the bracket accordingly,” said Big East men’s basketball associate commissioner Dan Gavitt. “Until CAP makes that final determination, we’re not going to have any comment. We wouldn’t change the brackets. We would accommodate it in such a way that it would work. We would just have to eliminate a game and move someone up on the line.”
In its waiver request, the school proposed alternate penalties, including playing a shorter schedule next season, forfeiting the revenue awarded to the Big East for participating in the 2013 tournament, and barring coach Jim Calhoun from meeting off-campus with prospective recruits during the fall 2012 contact period, all of which were rejected by the NCAA.
Five underclassmen have left the Huskies since the NCAA denied the school’s request for a waiver. Sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb and freshman center Andre Drummond announced they will enter this year’s NBA draft, a move both were expected to make even if UConn had been eligible for the tournament.
Alex Oriakhi transferred to Missouri for his senior season, citing the NCAA decision. Sophomore forward Roscoe Smith transferred to UNLV and redshirt freshman center Michael Bradley left for Western Kentucky.
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