SMU’s appeal of NCAA sanctions denied

SMU’s appeal to the NCAA regarding its sanctions in men’s basketball and men’s golf has been denied, the NCAA announced Thursday.

SMU appealed several sanctions from the NCAA’s Sept. 29, 2015 ruling: the 2015-16 postseason ban for men’s golf (for individual players), recruiting restrictions in men’s golf and men’s basketball, the reduction of scholarships in both sports and the vacation of men’s basketball wins in the 2013-14 season.

Basketball will lose seven scholarships over three years, from 2016-17 to 2018-19. The penalty was originally nine scholarships, but SMU got credit for the two it did not use in 2015-16. Men’s golf has to reduce its number of scholarships by 25 percent over three years. The team got credit for the 12 percent reduction it imposed in 2015-16. Both teams have the flexibility to determine how to apply the reductions. The NCAA upheld the golf postseason ban.

Additionally, men’s basketball and golf are prohibited from hosting unofficial visits for 13 weeks during the summer of 2016. Basketball has to reduce its number of official visits by two in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Both have to reduce communication with recruits for seven weeks in the spring of 2016.

SMU did not appeal the facts or findings of its case. It only appealed penalties. Per the report, SMU argued that NCAA’s Committee of Infractions applied individual aggregators because of SMU’s history, didn’t account for self-imposed penalties in visit reductions, extended financial penalties beyond the sanctions’ duration, and golf violations’ elevation to Level I (more severe) as opposed to Level II. SMU also said that it was not given enough notice of the potential vacated wins because former player Keith Frazier was granted immunity.

The Infractions Appeals Committee found that “none of these arguments persuasive in meeting the burden of showing abuse of discretion” by the Infractions Committee.

On Wednesday, the NCAA released the Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores from the 2014-15 academic year. APR calculates academic progress by a university’s student-athletes through a metric that measures athletes’ eligibility and retention each semester. SMU men’s basketball’s RPI was 939, above the 930 needed to avoid penalties. Football’s APR was a 945. To play in the 2016-17 postseason, teams must have a four-year average of 930. Both football and men’s basketball did.

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