SMU won't appeal NCAA basketball tourney ban or Larry Brown's suspension
DALLAS — SMU will not appeal the NCAA postseason ban on the men's basketball team or the nine-game suspension for coach Larry Brown.
In a letter to the SMU community posted Friday, school President Gerald Turner said while regretting the impact of the ban on student-athletes, the "simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year postseason ban for the level of misconduct that occurred."
The NCAA said last week that a former men's basketball administrative assistant completed the online course work for a student to meet NCAA initial eligibility and be admitted to the university. That was among infractions against the men's basketball and men's golf programs.
"The fact that NCAA violations happened on my watch is something that I regret and take very seriously. I am committed to winning with integrity and we must — and we will — do better," the 75-year-old Brown said in a statement. "While the decision to not appeal our postseason ban was made in the best interests of the program, I am truly disappointed for our student-athletes who are the most impacted by the penalties and who had nothing to do with the infractions."
But SMU does plan to appeal several sanctions, including scholarship losses in men's basketball and men's golf and recruiting restrictions in men's basketball. SMU will also challenge the vacating of men's basketball victories during the 2013-14 season due to a student deemed ineligible.
SMU will also appeal the penalty applied to men's golf that resulted in a postseason ban for the team and for individual competition.
Mustangs star Bryson DeChambeau, now a senior, last summer became only the fifth player ever to win the U.S. Amateur and NCAA individual titles in the same year. The current ban would keep him from having any opportunity to repeat as NCAA champion.
But the basketball team will not have a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament at the end of the 2015-16 season after making the field last year for the first time since 1993. The NCAA Tournament return last season came in Brown's third at SMU.
In his letter, Turner said appeals of the postseason ban or Brown's suspension would be a lengthy process and that uncertainty during such a period could harm many aspects of the program.
"When faced with the difficult choices regarding appealing the Committee on Infractions findings and penalties, we made deliberative decisions in the best interests of our programs and our university," said Rick Hart, the school's athletic director. "Regrettably, student-athletes with no involvement will be penalized for the actions of others, but violations occurred and it is time to move forward. "
Turner said school officials heard from hundreds of SMU supporters, and also analyzed the NCAA findings and sanctions. There were also deliberations with internal and external counsel, university and athletic department leadership, and a special task force of school trustees.