The NCAA banned Southern University from postseason play in football and men’s basketball next season, citing poor classroom performance by student-athletes. Southern is the first school to be banned from the postseason in two sports in the same year because of academic performance. The Jaguars will also lose two basketball scholarships. The NCAA released the penalties today as it disclosed the details of its latest Academic Progress Rate report. The APR is a point system based on scholarship athletes’ eligibility and retention. Grambling and Jackson State were also banned from postseason football. The impact of the penalties could have a major impact on the SWAC, a conference composed of historically black colleges, which gets an automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournaments.
The numbers are striking: The NCAA evaluated more than 340 schools for the APR report but only 24 of them—about 7% of the total—are considered historically black colleges or universities. Yet of the 58 harshest penalties handed out this year, fully half went to historically black colleges, all of them in the SWAC or MEAC. Texas Southern, which played for last year’s SWAC football title, must give up nearly 15 football scholarships, while Jackson State lost half a dozen. The LSU men’s basketball squad was the only Tiger team to fall below the APR standing. The Tigers lost one scholarship for the 2010-11 season; the team will be back to having 13 scholarship players in the fall.