NCAA says unlikely Southern will participate in post-season competition

Published: Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:46 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - All Southern University teams are ineligible for post-season play due to academic records, but the university is still working with NCAA officials to lift the ban, according to a joint release issued by the NCAA and the university. Here's the release:

"The NCAA staff continues to work closely with Southern University to resolve issues with the data the school submitted through the Academic Performance Program. Currently, all Southern University athletics teams are ineligible for NCAA postseason opportunities because the eligibility and retention data for its student-athletes are incomplete and inaccurate.

The records in question are used by the NCAA to determine the Academic Progress Rates for each team. Because Southern's data was deemed unusable, the school currently has no verified APRs for any of its teams. Without accurate APRs, the Committee on Academic Performance, a membership group that oversees the Academic Performance Program, cannot determine if the teams meet the minimum academic standard for postseason competition required of all Division I teams.

Southern was informed of its post-season ineligibility status in December 2013. At this time, the administration was required to notify its student-athletes of this status, and allow them the opportunity to transfer at mid-year. Since this December notification, Southern's submissions have been incomplete or inaccurate at deadline.

A significant amount of work must be completed before NCAA postseason eligibility for Southern's teams can be restored. Therefore, it is not feasible for Southern's winter sports to participate in post-season competition. Both Southern's administration and the NCAA staff are now focused on assisting the institution with meeting its NCAA membership requirements in time for spring sports to be restored to post-season eligibility.

Southern will exhaust every effort to comply in order to reverse the post season ban.

"The NCAA has informed us of the enormity of the challenge before us, but we continue to work exhaustively in our efforts to comply with their requests, and share in their goals to provide the best institutional support for student athletes," said William Broussard, athletics director at Southern. "As stated in the initial press conference to announce the post-season ineligibilities due to the ongoing data review, the NCAA has partnered extensively with our coordinated, campus-wide effort to report data from previous years accurately, perform and recommend corrections, and re-design policies and procedures for reporting accurate data in the future."

NCAA staff members began working closely with Southern in March 2013 in an effort to help the school resolve its data issues. Staff also expedited internal deadlines and continues to work on a compressed timeline in all matters related to the school's athletic teams.

"Our staff is committed to working with Southern on its data issues," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs. "We hope the result of this collaboration is a fully-functioning, robust system of tracking retention and eligibility on Southern's campus, to help student-athletes achieve academically and get the support they need to succeed."

The data review process is a collaborative one that requires a school to supply quality, accurate documentation that follows the school's internal policies and procedures. Often, these requirements are not met initially, and deadlines and requests must be revised to allow the school additional time to fulfill the requests fully and accurately. However, unusable data status, as determined by the membership body that oversees the process, does not occur frequently .

One of the cornerstones of the Academic Performance Program is its reliance on the correct and complete data submitted by each school. Without accurate data from the schools, the system of recognition for high achievers and penalties for low achievers suffers.

Beginning in 2007, the Committee on Academic Performance requested the staff review the data of all Division I schools to ensure data are accurate and complete. Southern's data challenges were discovered through such a review. The staff conducts intensive reviews of between 30 and 40 schools per year and each school provides supporting documentation when requested. Within the next three years, all Division I schools will have participated in the review process.

Within the next three years, all Division I schools will have participated in the review process.