Friday, January 8, 2016

Cal State Northridge (5-10) self-imposes postseason ban for 2016

Cal State Northridge's men's basketball team, currently ranked 284 in ESPN's Basketball Power Index, has self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season.

The ban comes from a series of incidents going back to November 2014, when the university withheld a group of basketball players from games for potential violations of team rules and university policy, according to a release from athletic director Brandon Martin.

"CSUN has a proud tradition of athletic excellence and an absolute commitment to the success of our student-athletes," Martin said. "Our actions today demonstrate the values on which our athletic programs are built."

The exact nature of the violations were not announced, however the school acknowledged "serious violations" in its men's basketball program, announcing the self-imposed penalty Wednesday ahead of what the NCAA might ultimately decide.

Coach Reggie Theus also commented on the ban.

"I'm pleased that we are moving forward," Theus said. "As I've said all along, this incident was an opportunity for our student-athletes and the team to come together in a time of uncertainty. And that's what they've done. While I am disappointed for our current men's basketball players who are impacted, I look forward to moving past this matter, and I am confident the basketball program will be successful both on and off the court in the years ahead."

Given the Matadors' low ranking in just about every computer-rated category, this largely only affects their ability to play in the Big West Tournament — which will now be cut down to an eight-team playoff.

CSUN did not detail what the allegations were or what the investigation found, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other federal and state privacy rights. 

However, a player involved in the situation told The Los Angeles Times that he and several teammates were summoned last fall to Martin's office, where they were told that the school was investigating suspicious exam results pertaining to a particular online course.

The player spoke to The Times on the condition that he would not be identified because of the sensitivity of the allegations.

"They were all the same grades," said the player, who denied wrongdoing. "They somehow thought we were cheating."

The Matadors haven't reached an NCAA Tournament since 2009 and are probably better known for their cool blacktop-themed home basketball court than the play on it.

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