(USA Today Sports Images)Grambling State joined a small fraternity of men's college basketball teams to complete winless seasons in the modern era tonight when it lost its first-round game in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament 59-51 to Alabama A&M.
Tonight's loss was the first all season to come by a margin of less than 1o points.
The Tigers fall from grace has been steep and speedy. They played in the SWAC championship game just two years ago. They dropped to just four wins a year ago and completed the descent this season.
This is what can happen when a program has no coaching stability in an era where Academic Progress Rate scores can lead to killer penalties. When Joseph Price, a former player at Notre Dame, was hired to take over as head coach late last spring, he became the fourth coach the program has had in the past six years.
Imagine trying to retain and graduate student-athletes in that environment. That is what the APR is all about.
The Tigers last victory came in the final game of the 2011-12 season against Alabama A&M on March 3, 2012. Grambling was ineligible for the postseason in 2011-12 because of APR penalties.
Grambling has struggled to meet APR standards in men's basketball almost since the APR system was introduced nearly a decade ago. The APR penalties absorbed the past two years have affected the competitiveness of the program.
Not only were the Tigers were ineligible for the postseason last season, they had only four scholarship players but managed to win four games. They regained their eligibility for postseason play and were allowed 10 scholarship players this season but were limited in other ways.
The Tigers were allowed to play only 27 regular season games this season instead of 29. They also had one day of practice time taken away each week and were not allowed to start practicing this season until Oct. 22.
There were some positives for the Tigers to celebrate this season. Terry Rose earned the freshman of the year award from the Southwestern Athletic Conference's coaches.
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