Southern’s ongoing NCAA postseason probation apparently has claimed a major casualty.
ESPN.com reported Thursday that forward Calvin Godfrey, expected to be a cornerstone of this year’s Jaguars men’s basketball team, will enroll at the University of Memphis.
Godfrey, who was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year after averaging 13.1 points and 8.8 rebounds last season, would be immediately eligible to play his final season for the Tigers.
Southern Athletic Director William Broussard wouldn’t comment on specific student-athletes Thursday night, citing federal law. But he did say via text message: “we’ve granted releases on other student-athletes.”
Schools were free to contact potential seniors among the Jaguars beginning July 1. Because of the postseason ban, any such athlete would be free to transfer and become immediately eligible provided they meet NCAA academic requirements.
All of Southern’s teams have been banned from NCAA postseason play since last fall because of inadequate reporting of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates. Southern administrators worked for months without success to try and provide adequate data to get the ban lifted before the start of the upcoming academic year.
“We’ve been advised to focus on our (2014-15) eligibility certifications and implementing our new policies and procedures,” Broussard said recently.
Southern’s latest eligibility certification will yield updated APR, which is evaluated for two- and four-year periods. So Jaguars teams and athletes remain in NCAA postseason limbo, though the ban doesn’t affect Southwestern Athletic Conference eligibility.
Godfrey helped lead the way as Southern claimed the SWAC regular-season title in March, despite playing most of the season with the knowledge that it was ineligible for the NCAA tournament.
The Jaguars put themselves on the brink of the conference’s regular-season title despite the expectation that they wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the SWAC tourney.
On March 1, they learned of an agreement that allowed them to compete in the conference tourney, with the understanding that the SWAC would send a replacement to the NCAA tournament if Southern won the tourney, which usually carries an automatic NCAA bid with it.
Just hours later, the Jaguars clinched the title with a victory at Alcorn State. A week and a half later, their season ended with records of 19-13 overall and 15-3 in the SWAC after a loss to Prairie View in the first round of the SWAC tournament.
Even before Godfrey’s apparent departure, Southern figured to be in a rebuilding mode after losing four seniors — forwards Malcolm Miller and Bryce Clark, center Javan Mitchell and guard Yondarius Johnson — from last year’s team.
Former LSU assistant coach Robert Kirby holds a similar position at Memphis.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.