BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On campus at Southern University Wednesday, there was a celebration for their new recruits for the 2015 football season. Usually this event would carry into spring football, however, this year, that will not be the case.
Athletic Director William Broussard says the Jaguars will not be allowed to hold spring football practice this year.
When Dr. Broussard began as Athletic Director in 2012, he inherited a number of sanctions due to academic progress rate, or APR scores; the latest coming to light, a ban on spring football practices which will take affect this year.
"We're not going to appeal it, it's a three year old sanction, so there was no opportunity to appeal it. It's part of the NCAA APR penalty structure. There's not an opportunity to appeal it, but it's not one we're necessarily interested in appealing, we've got bigger proverbial fish to fry," said Broussard.
The fish he refers to is their current NCAA post-season, which is actually unrelated to their sanction on spring practice.
Broussard says the punishment against Jaguar football was unavoidable at this point, but they chose this spring to get it out of the way because Southern feels their team is in its most stable position.
"If you take last year for example, where we had a quarterback question, and not knowing who was going to be our starting quarterback going into the spring, there was a lot more evaluation that had to take place with a lot more positions on the team. We don't have those question marks hanging over us to evaluate additionally in the spring," said Broussard.
"It's important I think, spring ball is very important," said Head Coach Dawson Odom. "Those 15 days are good for young guys. It really gives you a chance to give you a pre-look at your football team. I just try to coach the team to the best of my ability, and one thing around here is you can't worry about adversity, and we're going to handle it."
The Jaguars are remaining positive around the situation. Dr. Broussard says no spring football practice will help student athletes focus in the classroom, but for a program in a great rhythm right now, playing in back-to-back SWAC Championships, it's hard not to see this as a step backward.
Southern says they'll have more information to come later in the week.