After Bayou Classic, Southern awaits another NCAA visit, hopes for relief _lowres

Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southern University Chancellor James Llorens, left, listens as Athletic Director Dr. William Broussard answers questions regarding the university's NCAA postseason eligibility at Southern's A. W. Mumford Field House in February. Southern's one-year NCAA postseason ban expires Tuesday. A group of NCAA officials will visit the Southern campus next Thursday to determine what to do next, Broussard said.

The postseason ban the NCAA has placed on Southern will not prevent the Jaguars from participating in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game if they defeat Grambling in the Bayou Classic on Saturday.

Soon, Southern hopes to be rid of the ban altogether.

The one-year ban, which the NCAA instituted as punishment for inadequate reporting of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates, expires Tuesday. A group of NCAA officials will visit the Southern campus next Thursday to determine what to do next, athletic director William Broussard said.

“I imagine everything is on the table,” Broussard said Tuesday. “They’ve given us a list of things they wanted done, and we’re going to show them that we’ve done them.”

The ban was imposed by the Committee on Academic Performance, and the Subcommittee on Data Collection and Reporting made a similar visit to Southern last April to evaluate the steps Southern had taken to ensure it is accurately certifying its student-athletes. But the subcommittee made no ruling.

Broussard led a Jaguars contingent that appeared before the committee in Indianapolis in June to provide an updated report, and again the NCAA made no ruling.

NCAA spokeswoman Michelle Hosick said the subcommittee has several options after next week’s visit.

“If the members are satisfied with the school’s progress, they could lift the ban on championship participation,” Hosick said. “If not satisfied, they could keep the ban.

“Also, they could require the school’s president to appear before the full Committee on Academics (as Division I transitions to the new governance structure in January, the Committee on Academic Performance will be replaced by the Committee on Academics). Further action could be taken by other Division I governance bodies as a result of that meeting.”

The NCAA has required Southern to submit APR data that is accurate and usable, but so far “the data they have submitted is incomplete, inaccurate and not always supported by documentation,” Hosick said.

All of the Jaguars teams have been ineligible to compete for NCAA titles for the past year, but they are able to compete for SWAC championships.

“Any decision on championships eligibility will be based on the subcommittee’s confidence that the school will have a process in place to accurately certify student-athletes and to collect and report accurate APR data in the future,” Hosick said.

Southern up to No. 1

Southern has taken over as the No. 1 team in the country in the media poll ranking historically black colleges and universities.

The Jaguars (8-3, 7-1 SWAC) moved up to No. 1 after an open date during which former No. 1 Alcorn State lost to Jackson State last Saturday.

This is the first time Southern has been No. 1 in the eight-year history of the poll. It received seven of 17 first-place votes.

Classic means many things

Broderick Fobbs is participating in his first Bayou Classic as Grambling’s head coach, but he’s well aware of the event’s importance, having been a Grambling player and having watched his father, Lee, coach on Eddie Robinson’s Tigers staff.

“It’s definitely huge for us,” Roderick Fobbs said Tuesday. “It’s huge for our program, it’s huge for recruiting, it’s huge for everything. The Bayou Classic has always been a big deal for Grambling State University, not to mention this is a huge recruiting ground for Grambling State University.”

Business as usual

Southern coach Dawson Odums said he liked his team’s approach as it began game-week preparations Monday.

“You wouldn’t have known we were playing Grambling,” Odums said. “They just knew it was Monday practice and that we’re playing Grambling. It’s not that big to guys on (the) field. We just make sure we prepare the right way.

“We’re not going to over-prepare or over-plan just because we’re playing Grambling. Our guys know what we expect from them. We expect them to go out and do it and do it at a high level.”

Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate