UConn’s Appeal Denied by NCAA

by Categorized: APR, Jim Calhoun, NCAA, UConn men's basketball

We will have lots more coming on this, but UConn’s appeal to the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance’s subcommittee on appeal has been denied. UConn’s remaining hope to be eligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament is for the CAP to change its policy and use more recent academic scores, which will next be considered April 23. Here is the release from UConn:

The University of Connecticut has been informed by the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) that it has denied the school’s final appeal of a postseason ban on its men’s basketball team for the 2012-13 season because of the team’s past cumulative Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores.

“I want to be clear that everyone at UConn is and will always be committed to academic excellence for all of our student-athletes and in particular our men’s basketball players,” said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel, a past member of the NCAA’s Academic Cabinet and Academic Eligibility and Compliance Committee. “Before we even began this appeal process, the University and its Division of Athletics began to implement changes that were designed to positively impact the academic performance of our men’s basketball student-athletes. We have and will continue to make adjustments designed to help these young men succeed.”

During the season that the UConn men’s basketball team won the NCAA national championship, the squad had a nearly-perfect 978 APR score in 2010-11. During the fall 2011 semester, the team had a perfect APR score. Connecticut’s other 23 athletic teams all have four-year APR scores that are above 945.

“While we as a University and coaching staff clearly should have done a better job academically with our men’s basketball student-athletes in the past, the changes we have implemented have already had a significant impact and have helped us achieve the success we expect in the classroom,” said men’s basketball Coach Jim Calhoun. “We will continue to strive to maintain that success as we move forward.”


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15 thoughts on “UConn’s Appeal Denied by NCAA

  1. Jim

    It would be helpful if someone were to write an article explaining the components of the APR score and what UCONN did that was so different than every other major program. It is mind boggling, when looking at some other ‘academic’ institutions, that UCONN is the worst offender out there. This is a colossal institutional failing. I’m curious as to where the blame falls.

    It’s not acceptable to blame the system and rule change – every school was evaluated the same way.

    1. Alex

      It is absolutely fair to blame the system and the rule change. What is the purpose of the rule? To improve the academics of the “student-athletes.” UConn has done that in the past 2 years. Why sanction a university for past transgressions prior to the creation of the rule? Who stands to benefit from banning UConn using these backdated scores? Other universities already know the rule and have motivation to stay in compliance based on the punishment. The only group that benefits from banning UConn is the NCAA. With all the media pressure they get about not caring about academics they can now puff out their chest and say “See? We do care. Take that UConn.”Forcing UConn out of the tournament is an easy year long media whirlwind about how much the NCAA cares about academics. But, do you really think they care? Absolutely not. This is all about public image…nothing more, nothing less.

      We can blame UConn for letting it get that bad – but the real criminal is the NCAA. UConn was playing by the rules.

  2. Ray

    Cam Newton’s dad gets $180,000 from Auburn, Ohio State get a slap on their wrist…etc. this is a travesty…..Where is the support from the Big East…..LEts get together with the other 13 teams in the same boat and sue them..

    1. Pete

      Why would other BE schools that graduate their players stick up for UConn. The BE is an arms race and any advantage a school can get they will use.

      I have no problem with schools getting banned from the NCAA tourney. I just want the ban to be for the players that committed the crime, so to speak.

      1. teo

        But there is no way of doing this. I mean, basketball season ends in March. The academic year ends in May. The only way of assessing the compliance is over a one-year or multi-year process (and, I don’t really accept the premise that the 18 and 19 year old kids committed the crime — the coaches and university accepted these kids. They should make sure they attend class and graduate).

  3. Alex

    Let me preface my comment by saying that I graduated from UConn and am pursuing my JD in law school.

    If any state were to pass a law tomorrow allowing only 18 year olds to obtain drivers licenses that state would not be allowed to retroactively go back and take licenses away from those 16 and 17 year olds who had legally obtained them prior to the creation of the new law.

    Does it make any sense to punish a school who is improving academically on a rule you just created and arbitrarily decided to enforce retroactively? If academics are so important to the NCAA someone should sanction them for not having this rule in the first place. UConn played by the rules presented to them. This is nothing more than a face-saving publicity stunt.

    I just do not understand why no level of personal responsibility is taken into account. As an 18+ year old adult you should be allowed to make your own intelligent decisions. Of course there should be support networks – and there are – W & Q centers, etc…and that is just for the undergraduate population as a whole. The basketball team is provided with the best UConn professors as personal tutors. It should not be the responsibility of the basketball team to make sure that an assignment gets done or that an exam is studied for. At some point, it is time to cut the umbilical cord. When you are a big boy, you should be allowed to make big boy decisions. If you choose not to apply yourself, you are hurting only yourself – unless you play NCAA basketball.

    It is just sad to see the NCAA using UConn as a way to pretend they care about academics and ethics.

    1. teo

      Come on, Alex, use that legal background that you’re acquiring. Res Ipsa Loquitur. You familiar with that concept? The thing speaks for itself. That is, it’s not like the NCAA just started to say, “Members, we’re now going to take away the money we pay the athletes and we’re going to make these athletes attend class in order to play basketball.”

      It’s college basketball. It’s not pro basketball or minor league basketball or anything else. The kids were supposed to be attending college and getting ready for life, while also playing basketball.

      The rules have been the same for a long time: kids must be academically eligible to play basketball. What’s changed is the penalty. If the school is playing kids who are ineligible, the school loses scholarships and, eventually, its post season eligibility. The only way to assess whether the school is playing the kids who are ineligible is to look at the Academic Progress Rate, which measures whether the kids remain academically eligible while they are on the basketball team.

      THis is a penalty that applies for past behavior. I liken it to the guy who refuses to pay his taxes on his car. First time, the cop sees that the taxes aren’t paid and the cop issues a ticket. Second time, the cop issues a bigger ticket. Third time, the cop tows the car to the impound lot. The fact that the cop didn’t immediately tow it to the impound lot doesn’t mean he could not have towed it to the impound lot.

      1. Alex

        First off, UConn has never had issues with playing academically ineligible players. APR is about academic achievement – our guys must have been eligible to play, but apparently just barely. If we were playing ineligible players, wins would be taken away – not the tournament next year.

        I’m not sure your analogy actually works. When you don’t pay taxes on your car the penalty (written in State/Federal statutes) would be whatever the books said. In this situation UConn had a penalty created after the infractions were “committed” which the NCAA has used to retroactively punish the infractions it had just created. Do you think the State of Connecticut could put a law on the books that said “as of 4/8/12 the price of an 80 mile an hour speeding ticket is $400. Anyone previously caught doing 80 before the creation of this rule will owe the difference.” No – that would be absurd. Why is it not absurd here?

        UConn is improving its academics for its men’s basketball “student-athletes.” Punishing the school for improving seems backwards does it not?

        I was at UConn from 2006-2010. I know Jonathan Mandeldove and I know that he is a major reason our APR score is so low. He actually failed out of school. My concern with this level of punishment is it ignores that people do fail out of college. I had a friend at UConn who similarly did not make it through. He had personal motivation issues…as did Jonathan Mandeldove. There was never a time when Mandeldove would not be spotted somewhere near the student union just hanging out. Again, I believe that the basketball team should offer additional support to their players due to the time pressures the kids are under. However, I do not believe that the level of hand-holding the NCAA apparently believes is appropriate actually is. I fail to see how the University owes it to Mr. Mandeldove to get his ass out of the student union and into the library. They already have mandatory study halls and extra help for these players. Does the school really need to smack the kid on the back of the head and say do your work? UConn didn’t do that for my friend in the general population. He was placed on academic probation and required to meet with advisors, but other than that nothing was done. It’s college. The school owes you the opportunity to succeed. It is up to each individual to seize it…or not in some instances.

        1. teo

          Backwards? No. It’s long overdue. Look, UConn is an outlier. Shoot — you graduated from the school. Aren’t you embarrassed by its horrifying 14% graduation rate from African American men who play basketball? It’s become a factory and Calhoun and his cronies have allowed this to happen.

          You are right to say that people do fail out of college. Of course they do. But what if they fail out of college after they’ve contributed heavily to the men’s basketball team. You’re a puppy — probably weren’t even alive during the “It’s Late, It’s Great, It’s Tate” year. But Tate George is a prime example. He played four years for the university. I don’t believe he graduated. What do you do with that? And this is the entire program. I mean, since Calhoun’s been there, hundreds of African American players have funneled through the program. The vast majority didn’t graduate (George will be in prison soon, based on a ponzi scheme he initiated) but Calhoun’s lined his pockets with millions.

          He’s a great game coach. The 1999 title game against Duke was the best coached game I’ve ever seen. He wins, often with inferior players. But let’s not kid ourselves: he’s exploiting these primarily African American athletes. He lets them in school. He makes sure that they’re in practice and that they play. But he doesn’t provide sufficient resources for the kids to graduate.

          Do other schools do it? Of course — the system exploits the kids. But of the 300 D1 schools, UConn is one of just 13 that cannot establish a reasonable APR. You can blame Mandelove all you want. But it’s the system — Calhoun’s system – that is not working. And it’s catching up to the university.

          1. Alex

            A diploma is nothing more than a piece of paper. Say whatever you want, but the point of college is to prepare you for life after college. What does a diploma do for anyone unless they have some fire in their belly to make something of themselves? There has to be some level of personal accountability. No one forced me to go to class, study for tests, go to the gym, etc, etc, etc. There are resources available – but unfortunately many of our players are talented at basketball. When you are looking to improve your game and help your prospects for a professional career many of the players take off after the season and head to the training facilities out west. UConn should make it clear to players that they will be welcome to come back and finish their degrees whenever they want. However, I truly believe that there are specific players who helped contribute to this current situation. If you don’t have any personal accountability to study and simply shrug your shoulders and say “no one helped me” – I want to know if they even took the time to ask for help.

            The graduation rate is terrible – but I just don’t think that all the blame should fall on the university. At some point people should be able to look into the mirror and want better for themselves. Does Calhoun’s system attract those who don’t want to graduate from college? Maybe – I don’t know.

          2. teo


            “A diploma is nothing more than a piece of paper.” Because I believe I am older than you, I think I have a little more background on the importance of a college degree. That said, I’m going to try not to sound condescending. I will just say this: in life, there are few chances to accomplish achieving the degree without serious other distractions. I cannot imagine going to college or law school with my current scene (three kids and an amazing wife).

            These are kids. They’re 18-20 years old. This is their time to get a degree. Do people do it later in life? Of course. It happens all the time. But it is crazy to think that the reason these kids didn’t get their degree was because they were traveling all over the place playing hoops while a university made millions on their play.

            I agree that people have to take responsibility for their actions. But it works both ways: the schools have to give these kids, who are traveling to Milwaukee (or, now, Boise), midweek, a chance to graduate. And based on the numbers it looks like UConn has to do a lot more.

  4. Ray

    Pete, The Big East should stick up for Uconn. With 3 championships in recent years and the overall success of this program has kept them on the map and brought millions of dollars to their coffers.

    The next time Uconn gets an offer to play in another league they should take it….The Big East is letting down the most successful basketball team in their history

    1. Kyle

      The Garden will sure be rocking when Uconn, Cuse, Pitt, and WVU are playing (I realize Pitt and Cuse aren’t gone yet). Oh wait. That is why the BE should be sticking up for Uconn. Their tournament just went in the sh*tter.

  5. Ben

    Why hasn’t the Courant written a story about the 13 other schools (if, indeed, that is an accurate number)facing the same plight as UConn? What schools are they? How have they responded?
    For UConn to be among a very few schools ruled ineligible because of academics is a BIG embarrassment. Remember, Calhoun was hired, in part, to clean up the academic mess that involved Earl Kelly’s flunking off the team.

  6. Jay

    As much as I hate to see UConn banned from the 2013 tournament, I don’t think the NCAA is picking on the Huskies. I see it more of an issue of timing. When they drew the line in the sand, UConn was on the wrong side of that line. I’m sure we’ll see some other marquee programs fall by the wayside in the coming years too. Until all the schools figure out how to game the system we’ll probably see 1 or 2 marquee names on the sidelines during the next few tournaments. It’s just that UConn’s first, probably because of the combination of systemic flaws, producing a lot of early entries, taking too many at risk players, and running off underperforming players.

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