Southern men's basketball coach Roman Banks and Athletic Director William Broussard praised the program's improved academic performance Tuesday after misleading reports seemed to suggest the SWAC champions faced new NCAA penalties.
A national news organization's website featured a picture of Jaguars star Malcolm Miller with a caption suggesting Southern faces a postseason ban. The SWAC public relations office also listed men's basketball along with SU Track and Field as programs facing Level 2 penalties, when in fact the track and field program is the only one being penalized.
Broussard says Southern's APR numbers for men's basketball are among the best in its conference, with a 969 score last year that is just five points shy of the national average for all schools.
Banks says while he may have inherited a bad situation three years ago, an emphasis on academics by the chancellor and administration has led to a drastic improvement in Academic Performance Index numbers, which rate a school's programs by how many student athletes stay in school and how many graduate.
Eighteen Division I teams will miss the postseason, and another 18 squads in men's basketball and nine other college sports will trade practice time for remedial classroom sessions under NCAA academic progress reports released Tuesday.
Poor Academic Progress Rate scores mean postseason bans in 2013-14 for teams from 10 schools: Alabama State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Florida A&M, Florida International, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State, New Orleans, Norfolk State, Savannah State and Southern (men's track and field). That compares to 15 teams ineligible for the 2012-13 postseason.
Five teams received Level 3 APR penalties, which can include multi-year postseason bans: the men's basketball teams at Grambling, Mississippi Valley, New Orleans and Louisiana-Monroe and Chicago State's women's volleyball team.
Most of the penalized schools have more limited resources than top NCAA programs, including 11 historically black schools.
Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.