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Atlantic 10 announces that all members will play in 2014 conference tournament

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With four departures (Butler, Charlotte, Temple and Xavier) and one arrival (George Mason), the Atlantic 10 Conference will have 13 members for the 2013-14 academic year with Davidson joining in 2014.

Those changes have brought about another for the conference: beginning next season, all members will play in the Atlantic 10 tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In previous years only the top 12 teams qualified for the conference tournament.

“Bringing every member to our basketball championships is really important to our coaches and member institutions, our commitment to being the most successful basketball-centric conference Division I has been a priority and will continue to be a priority,” commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a statement released by the conference announcing the change.

“The athletic directors made a number of decisions this week that will greatly benefit the Atlantic 10, our national relevance and brand, keeping us on the forefront athletically and academically”

The Big East, before splitting, invited all 16 members to New York City for its conference tournament from 2009-2012, beginning play with a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. How will the Atlantic 10 manage 13 (and then 14) members?

In regards to a 13-team format one possibility would be to give the top three seeds a first-round bye, going with a triple-header on the first afternoon of the event (this is what the Big East did when it was a 13-member league).

But regardless of how the A-10 decides to format its tournament, knowing that they’ll get to play in the event has to be a relief for the programs that have been stuck at the bottom of the conference standings in recent years.

The 2013-14 season will also feature expanded television coverage for the conference (existing partners ESPN and CBS Sports Network), with NBC Sports Network televising 25 conference games.

Also of note regarding men’s basketball is the conference’s decision to move from 16 to 18 conference games, beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.