Inadequate classroom performance will keep one of college basketball's heavyweights from participating in the NCAA tournament next season.
As expected UConn was among the 10 men's college basketball teams banned from next year's postseason on Wednesday as a result of four-year Academic Progress Rate scores that fell below a 900. The Huskies scored 909, 844 and 826 during a three-year period from 2007-10 as a result of a flurry of players transferring or leaving early for the NBA without being in good academic standing.
The nine other men's basketball programs ineligible for the postseason next year are all lightweights compared to UConn. They are Cal State Bakersfield, Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Towson, Arkansas Pine Bluff, UC Riverside, UNC-Wilmington and Toledo.
The APR, now in its ninth year, measures eligibility and retention, rewarding programs for keeping players in school and on track to graduate. The premise is well-intentioned yet flawed since it doesn't do a sufficient job taking into account players who turn pro and often penalizes coaches or kids who weren't around during the academic issues that took place years earlier.
In the case of UConn, however, this appears to be an example of the APR making a positive impact.
As detailed here thoroughly by The UConn Blog, Connecticut suffered during a three-year period from transfers and early defections but also did a poor job adjusting to the new rules and making sure players were passing classes. In the past two years, the Huskies have corrected that problem and placed a greater emphasis on academic compliance but it was too late to avoid scholarship reduction penalties and ultimately a postseason ban.
What has to be frustrating for UConn is the penalties are taking effect after the Huskies appear to have solved the problem. It's not Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier or DeAndre Daniels who are at fault here, yet they will not play in the Big East tournament or in the NCAA tournament next season because of their predecessors.