The Connecticut basketball team, for the “sins” of players going pro early who did not maintain their eligibility, will not be eligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The defending champions are the first high profile school to be punished under the NCAA’s new APR (Academic Progress Rate) changes.
The APR is a measure of academic performance and retention, with schools earning points based on players being on track for graduation and remaining eligible. Players who turn pro early can hurt a school’s APR score, particularly if they did not maintain academic eligibility before leaving the program early. Athletes who return to school to finish their degrees can help a school’s score. To remain eligible for the postseason, a school must average a score of 930 over two seasons, or 900 over four seasons.
Earlier this week, UCONN presented redacted documents to the NCAA to support its request for a waiver. Those showed that part of the issue was players like Kemba Walker and Hasheem Thabeet turning pro early, and not being academically eligible when they left. UCONN sought a waiver from the NCAA for next season, offering self-imposed sanctions such as returning revenue from the tournament, reducing then number of regular season games played, and reducing Coach Calhoun’s recruiting contacts.
That waiver has been denied, per Jeff Goodman of CBS. Connecticut plans on appealing. This will be devastating for Connecticut, because they know it will have an impact on recruiting–which is why they were willing to impose so many other economic sanctions instead that wouldn’t prevent kids from getting the exposure that the top line guys want in March. Add in the fact that Jim Calhoun is on medical leave for back pain, is 68 years old, and would be 70 before he could coach in another tournament, and you have to wonder if big changes are coming in Storrs.
[photo via Getty]