Southern in SWAC tourney despite NCAA ban _lowres

Advocate staff photo by John Oubre -- Southern's Keonia Parrish drives hard to the basket while defended by Alcorn's Ashtin McNichols on Saturday at the F.G. Clark Activity center.

The Southern men’s and women’s basketball teams will participate in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, but the NCAA postseason ban remains in effect.

The NCAA on Saturday accepted a proposal from the SWAC to amend its automatic-qualifying policy for the 2014 championships only. That means Southern and three other SWAC schools that are facing an NCAA postseason ban — Grambling, Mississippi Valley State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff — will compete in the SWAC tournament March 11-15 in Houston.

The SWAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament will go to the eligible school that advances furthest in the conference tournament. If the furthest-advancing eligible teams are eliminated in the same round of the conference tournament, the automatic qualifier will go to the highest-seeded team.

The four ineligible schools are banned from NCAA postseason play because of inadequate documentation of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates.

The process will be revisited when the men’s and women’s basketball committees meet in the summer.

“It is the conference’s goal to ensure that each student-athlete has equal opportunity for academic and athletic success,” SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said in a statement. “The Conference and Council of Presidents acknowledge the financial strain that affect our member institutions in meeting APR requirements. With the approval of the amended policy, the SWAC not only can provide a quality athletic experience, but optimistically provide the means for academic advancements.”

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted in favor of lifting the postseason ban for all SWAC Championship Sports.

The change will allow all of the Jaguars winter and spring sports teams to compete in the SWAC postseason tournaments while the university attempts to get the NCAA postseason ban lifted by satisfying all NCAA requests for complete and accurate APR data.