Southern University’s athletic programs were reinstated Friday for NCAA postseason play beginning this fall.
The Jaguars had been ineligible for NCAA postseason play for 18 months as punishment for inadequate and inaccurate reporting of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates.
“I’ve gotten numerous calls from athletes and their parents,” said men’s basketball coach Roman Banks, who is doubling as interim athletic director until August. “They and the coaches from various sports are obviously elated with what has transpired.”
Women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh tweeted: “Awesome job by my colleague Coach Roman Banks. He got it done!”
The NCAA requires member institutions to regularly submit documentation showing their students are making satisfactory progress toward their degrees. A random audit of schools at the start of the 2013-14 academic year revealed that Southern had submitted “unusable” data for several years.
Southern officials responded to a series of requests by the NCAA to supply usable data for the years in question. The Jaguars also revamped their record-gathering and record-keeping system to avoid future issues.
Banks said the university is still under “the APR microscope,” but the hardest work has been completed.
“I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all roses,” Banks said. “We’ve got to continue to work hard. Each individual sport still has to reach the APR standards. But it’s a more level playing field now.”
The reinstatement comes too late to help the Southern baseball team, which has won its first two games in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament at the MLB Urban Youth Academy.
“It’s good news to know the kids now have the chance to play for championships,” baseball coach Roger Cador said. “Going forward, it looks like we’re in pretty good shape, because a concentrated effort has been made to try to get it right.
“Obviously, it hasn’t been easy. I feel for kids who have had to endure this — especially the ones who are so deserving of playing for championships — but things happen. Southern is not the first and certainly won’t be the last.”
Southern has been working on a certification of student-athletes to submit in August.
“Hopefully,” Cador said, “from here, the administration will do its due diligence to make sure we keep moving forward and do right by the student-athletes by hiring the right people to look after their well-being.”
(Executive sports editor Joseph Schiefelbein contributed to this report.)