The Southern baseball team is ineligible for the NCAA tournament under the first of multiple sanctions against the program.
Jaguars coach Roger Cador revealed the sanction even though the school is still awaiting written notification of the penalties from the NCAA.
It’s the third consecutive season Southern is ineligible for the NCAA tournament. The first two penalties were part of an athletic department-wide penalty, handed down because the university supplied the NCAA with unusable data on student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates.
The latest postseason ineligibility is a result of the baseball team falling short of the NCAA minimum of a 930 APR score over a four-year period, Cador said.
“I don’t want to go into the season living a lie,” said Cador, who informed the team of the sanction after practice Saturday. “We’ll just wait for the other sanctions that certainly will be coming.”
The other sanctions are the result of the baseball program “over-rewarding scholarships,” interim athletic director Roman Banks said.
“That’s a sport that had some other problems — not just APR, but recurring problems that they’re going to have to deal with,” Banks said. “They weren’t using the formula properly as it relates to the NCAA.”
For instance, out-of-state fees are supposed to count as part of scholarship money awarded, even though they are waived for student-athletes. But the baseball program wasn’t deducting the out-of-state fees from its pool of scholarship money.
“That caused them to go over in scholarships,” said Banks, who doubles as the men’s basketball coach. “All head coaches are supposed to have a reasonable knowledge of their program. You can make a mistake — but after you do it year after year after year, it becomes that program’s problem and the institution’s problem for not catching that.”
Banks said the improper application of the formula for rewarding scholarships dates “seven or eight years.”
“We’ve got everything in place now,” Banks said, “but after we get all of the infractions counted up, then we’ll know where we are for the long run.”
Banks said he expects written notification of the sanctions from the NCAA in the next three weeks. After that, the university will have an opportunity to respond and self-impose additional sanctions for NCAA consideration.
That process could take “six to 12 months,” Banks said.
Banks said the scholarship issue was first discovered by the NCAA when it investigated the unusable data in 2013.
Cador said he and assistant coach Dan Canevari analyzed the records after Canevari was hired before last season, and they discovered “we had some cancer situations.”
“We realized we had some things we had to fix,” Cador said. “Once we found out what they were, we took the necessary steps to correct them. We purged the roster to get in compliance with what the NCAA was looking for.”
In an effort to get the baseball program in good standing with the NCAA, Cador dismissed several players with remaining eligibility and brought in 22 newcomers with an added emphasis on academics.
“We had to make some roster moves last year,” Cador said. “The things we did with the roster were in anticipation of all of this coming down. We had to do something in order to prepare for the future. That’s what we did.”
It’s uncertain whether the Jaguars will be able to compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, the winner of which advances to the NCAA tournament.
Two years ago, Southern failed to qualify for the tournament, and last season it was allowed to compete despite NCAA ineligibility. The Jaguars advanced to the final where they lost to Texas Southern 10-0.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.