NCAA Denies Waiver

There was significant bad news for the Connecticut basketball program on Friday. UConn's waiver request to avoid being barred from the 2013 NCAA Tournament was denied by the NCAA.

Details of the waiver were made public earlier this week in a story by The Associated Press. The UConn proposal, which included forfeiture of tournament revenue and a reduction of the regular season schedule in 2012-13, was highly criticized by the national media before being rejected by the NCAA.

UConn issued a press release indicating the school intends to appeal Friday's denial. But it now appears increasingly likely that the defending national champions will not be eligible for the 2013 tournament.

Under rules approved in October, a school must have a two-year average score of 930 or a four-year average of 900 on the NCAA's annual Academic Progress Rate, which measures the academic performance of student athletes. UConn would be academically ineligible in 2013, because the NCAA plans to use data from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

There is one possible hope remaining for UConn, which would become the first major program barred from the postseason due to poor APR results.

Walter Harrison, chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance, told the AP there will be a meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss whether to adjust reporting dates to allow schools to use their most recent data in qualifying for tournaments. For the 2013 men's basketball tournament that would mean scores from the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic year and UConn would qualify for the tournament under that scenario.

"I don't know what to expect," Harrison told the AP. "We could just decide to keep the current policy in place. Secondly, we could decide that we want to make a change, and that may require board approval, which would mean it wouldn't happen until April. The third possibility is we might not make any decision, and talk about it again in April."

Here is the release from UConn, along with a statement from President Susan Herbst.

STORRS, Conn. (February 10, 2012) -- The University of Connecticut was informed on Friday by the NCAA that its waiver request to participate in men's basketball postseason competition for the 2012-13 season, including the 2013 NCAA Tournament, has been denied.

Connecticut will now appeal the decision to the NCAA Division I Committee on Academic Performance Subcommittee on Appeals.

The waiver was submitted to the NCAA as a result of the UConn men's basketball team's performance in the Academic Progress Rate (APR).

"We are deeply disappointed that our request for a waiver was denied, but we look forward to continuing in the process," said UConn President Susan Herbst. "We continue to believe that we have made a very compelling case in our waiver to the NCAA and we are pleased with the recent outstanding academic success of our men's basketball student-athletes.

"I want to be clear that during my entire career as a scholar and a teacher, I have been in full support of high academic standards in collegiate athletics. However, in this case, there are good students who could be penalized for the problematic behavior of students who have not been enrolled for years.

"Educators and parents need to do what is right for their students, and not allow them to be caught in the dynamics of public relations."

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