NCAA lifts postseason ban on Hawai’i
One day before its regular-season finale, and less than a week before the start of the Big West Conference Tournament, the University of Hawai’i basketball team learned that it will be allowed to participate in the postseason, effective immediately.
This means that the Warriors are now eligible to play in the Big West Tournament, where it will likely be seeded fourth or fifth, pending various outcomes of games tomorrow. The winner of the three-day Big West Tournament will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The first round of games in the Big West Tournament are scheduled for March 9 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The NCAA made the announcement on Friday morning. Also included in the announcement was a reduction of the program’s scholarship penalty. UH initially had two scholarships taken away for the 2017-18 season, but that will now be only one scholarship.
Hawai’i (14-14 overall and 8-7 in the Big West) will play its regular-season finale at Long Beach State (13-18, 8-7) on Saturday.
Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game, the Warriors are locked into the 4 vs. 5 quarterfinal for the Big West Tournament. If Hawai’i wins at Long Beach State on Saturday, the Warriors will be the No. 4 seed, and will face either CSUN or Long Beach State in the quarterfinals of the tournament. If Hawai’i loses at Long Beach State on Saturday, the Warriors will be the No. 5 seed, and will face Long Beach State again in the quarterfinals five days later.
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Here is the official announcement from www.hawaiiathletics.com …
The University of Hawai’i at Manoa men’s basketball team will be able to participate in post-season play, following an announcement by the NCAA today. The NCAA also announced that UH’s probationary period has been reduced from three years to two and will now end in December 2017. The scholarship penalty was also reduced from two to one for each of the two years. The decision comes after UH appealed the NCAA December 2015 ruling that instituted the penalties.
“We are glad to be able to finally put this episode behind us,” said UH Athletics Director David Matlin. “We have been fully committed to uncovering and correcting any wrong-doing from the very first day we self-reported our initial concern. And throughout this entire investigation we have cooperated fully, including openly acknowledging the mistakes that were made.”
Despite the postseason uncertainty throughout the entire season and with no returning starters from last year’s team that made it the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Rainbow Warriors are 14-14 overall with a chance at securing a winning regular-season record when they take on Long Beach State on Saturday, March 4.
“We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes, who have represented our university and the entire State of Hawai’i with poise, pride and a winning effort,” said UH Manoa Interim Chancellor David Lassner. “Coach [Eran] Ganot and his staff have done an amazing job all season by focusing on what they could control and coaxing extraordinary performances from the team.”
“There were no excuses as the coaches and players demonstrated an incredible work ethic and a never-give-up attitude,” said Matlin. “The leadership has been first rate, and our men’s basketball program has already exceeded every expectation so far this season.”
“Obviously we’re pleased with today’s announcement,” Ganot said. “I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it again – I’m extremely proud of how our administration, staff, and players have dealt with this situation. I’m fired up for our guys and can’t wait to get on the court for Saturday’s game and for the opportunity to defend our Big West Tournament title next week.”
“We wish them all the best in their well-deserved post-season,” said Lassner.
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And here is the NCAA’s official announcement on www.ncaa.org …
INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Hawaii, Manoa, will not have to serve a men’s basketball postseason ban, according to a reconsidered decision issued by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The university’s probationary period was also reduced from three years to two, and the men’s basketball scholarship penalty was changed from two scholarship reductions to one over each of the two years.
In its appeal, the university argued that the penalties in its December 2015 men’s basketball infractions case should have been imposed under the former infractions structure because the violations began before Oct. 30, 2012, the date the new infractions structure was adopted by the Division I Board of Directors. The Division I Infractions Appeals Committee determined it could not find the connection needed in the case to cause the new infractions structure and penalties to be used. As a result, it sent the case back to the Committee on Infractions panel so it could reconsider the case to determine which infraction structure is less stringent and review the postseason ban, scholarship reductions and financial penalty under that infractions structure.
In its review, the Committee on Infractions panel found the conduct resulting in the violations occurred predominately after Oct. 30, 2012, so the infractions structure evaluation was appropriate. However, the panel determined that the passage of time from when the school filed its appeal to when the Infractions Appeals Committee issued its decision was a mitigating factor for the university. The panel changed the case from a Level II-Aggravated case for the university to a Level II-Standard case and reassessed the penalties to determine whether they would be more lenient under the former or current infractions structure. The current penalty structure was found to be more lenient due to the change in case classification. Therefore, the panel reduced the scholarship penalty and probation, and eliminated the postseason ban.
Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Michael F. Adams, chancellor, Pepperdine University; Britton Banowsky, executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation; Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State University; Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier University; Bobby Cremins, former head basketball coach at Georgia Institute of Technology; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, athletics director; and Jill Pilgrim, attorney in private practice.
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