College

Tuesday, Jun 19 2012 04:46 PM

CSUB basketball to appeal ineligibility ruling

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

The NCAA will announce Wednesday that Cal State Bakersfield's men's basketball program will be ineligible for postseason play for the 2012-13 season because of poor academic performance.

But CSUB athletic director Jeff Konya said the academic performance rate score of 879 over a four-year period -- it must be 900 or above to ensure postseason eligibility and avoid additional sanctions from the NCAA -- is not accurate and the university is hopeful the NCAA will rescind the ban once it completes an audit of CSUB's information and analysis.

Konya said he hopes that occurs in the next 2-3 weeks.

"I think it will be relatively quick. They know how important this is," Konya said.

Konya said the 879 score was reported to CSUB in early 2012 and the university reacted proactively.

"We commissioned an independent law firm that has NCAA experience to do an independent analysis," Konya said Tuesday afternoon. "Their initial finding put it at between 900 and 910."

The current academic progress rate (APR) covers the 2007-08 through the 2010-11 academic years, the final four seasons of Keith Brown's tenure as the Roadrunner basketball coach

The 2011-12 season, under first-year head coach Rod Barnes, won't count toward CSUB's four-year APR score until next year. When that's included, the 2007-08 score will be dropped. Konya said CSUB's APR in Barnes' first year was 960.

A year ago, CSUB was put on notice that its APR for men's basketball, men's golf and women's water polo were below the NCAA allowable level. It was the first time in CSUB's history that any of its sports teams had been cited by the NCAA for low APRs.

CSUB President Horace Mitchell responded by announcing the university was adding a new academic advising position to focus on at-risk student athletes.

Konya said he had hoped that the NCAA would have completed its audit of CSUB prior to the Wednesday release of its preliminary list of institutions that have been deemed ineligible for the 2012-13 postseason.

"We have been engaged quite extensively with the NCAA over this," Konya said. "But the audit process takes longer. When it comes out tomorrow, there will be asterisks and footnotes attached to us that say data is still being reviewed."

Konya said APR scores are calculated by awarding points for athletes who return in good academic standing and more are awarded if they remain eligible. Graduation is the ultimate goal and adds to programs' scores.

"There are other nuances, such as someone leaves in good standing with over a 2.6 GPA gives you points," Konya said. "But remaining eligible, remaining in the program and graduating, that's the main thing."

Konya said he was not aware of specific instances where the CSUB scores were damaged by the departure of basketball players prior to their graduation.

"I wasn't here for 111/2 quarters of the 12 quarters (the APR time frame)," Konya said. "What I do know is this year's score should be over 960 with respect to where we are and where we go from here."

Konya added: "We knew our data needed to improve, and that was one of the factors that Rod brought to the table that we felt would be beneficial to us."

CSUB spokesman Corey Costelloe said some of the departures were hardship related dealing with family issues, adding that those type of circumstances lessen the APR penalty.

Konya said the water polo program no longer has an APR issue.

Men's golf, he said, will require additional study hall time and is facing an NCAA-imposed practice restriction for 2012-13. But CSUB has submitted a waiver for consideration to avoid the restriction due to "unique circumstances."

The golf APR was damaged when several players transferred after Mitchell announced in February, 2010, that golf was among four sports that were going to be eliminated. The four sports were retained, but the departure of several golfers led to a low APR score.

"Golf is on a watch, not a postseason ban," Konya said. "They should be fine."

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