Facing a budget crisis, South Carolina State University thought about eliminating its basketball program, but the team will continue to play for now.
According to a report from the AP, the school is in the middle of attempting to coordinate a new budget for the upcoming budget year, which begins next week. The school’s Board of Trustees could not come up with a final budget at a Wednesday meeting, but it appears basketball is safe for the time being.
Instead of getting rid of the basketball program, the school will figure out other ways to address the budget, including raising tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. The University also recently received a $6 million loan from the state of South Carolina, according to the report.
Had South Carolina State opted to get rid of basketball, they would have owed $730,000 in fees to the NCAA and it also would have meant probation, the school’s interim athletics director told the AP.
The Bulldogs finished their first season under head coach Murray Garvin with a 9-21 overall record and 5-11 in MEAC play to place ninth in the conference standings.
South Carolina State might not be regarded as any kind of basketball powerhouse — the Bulldogs haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and are 0-5 in the Big Dance as a program — but the loss of the basketball program would have been a troubling sign for some future programs at the low-major level.
Since many of those low-major basketball programs don’t draw in major athletics revenue from football or the big conference television deals that we see in the power conferences, it can sometimes be a struggle to survive in the landscape of major college basketball.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.