Kevin Ollie

APR reports released, UConn ban lifted, six teams banned from postseason

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The NCAA releases their annual academic progress ratings (APR) on Tuesday afternoon, with certain schools learning their fate for the upcoming season.

UConn, who were left out of the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament as a result of poor APR scores, has showed enough improvement to be allowed to participate in the postseason for the 2013-14 season.

The Huskies showed progress towards an eligible APR, going from an 889 in 2010-11 to a score of 897 in 2011-12.  As a result, all sanctions have been lifted for the season. Kevin Ollie showed that he can handle the job that the fanbase wanted him to get, succeeding Jim Calhoun and maintaining a high level of play and improving the academics of the program, as he did as an assistant last season.

In all, six teams — New Orleans, Florida International, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alabama State — received postseason bans for college basketball as a result of low APR scores. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State will enter their second consecutive year of a postseason ban.

A year after experiencing one of their best seasons in over a decade, FIU will not be eligible for the postseason, posting a multi-year rate of 858, one year after posting a 909. They will also receive a practice time reduction.

NCAA guidelines require athletic programs to keep a four-year rolling APR of at least 900 or a two-year rolling APR of 930, or be punished with a postseason ban. Four-year APRs of at least 930, or two-year averages of 940 are required to avoid penalties such as reductions in practice time and/or scholarships.

In all, 18 schools received postseason bans on various athletic teams.

It’s always a good thing to have UConn contending in the college basketball world, not having them in it hurt things in the last year of the Big East Conference (as we know it) last season. As for FIU, you have to assume that, while Minnesota is by far a better gig than being the second school in Miami, this is one of the reason Richard Pitino bolted after one season with the Golden Panthers. Isaiah Thomas’ tenure and firing brought the program down on and off the court, noticeably.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.