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DIII SUNYIT Basketball Teams Will Miss Conference Tournament

The State University of New York Institution of Technology, a Division III member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference, will forfeit games and miss the NEAC tournament after playing with an ineligible player. Matt Becker of Utica Observer-Dispatch:

The school made the announcement Monday and said the forfeits stem from the improper certification of two transfer students (one from each team). SUNYIT Director of Athletics and men’s basketball coach Kevin Grimmer said it was a matter of improperly filed paperwork.

Division III has extremely loose transfer rules. While the same general rule applies, the exceptions include most transfer students:

(a) The student has never practiced or competed in intercollegiate athletics; (b) The student transfers from a four-year collegiate institution and would have been academically and athletically eligible, at the time of transfer to the certifying institution (see Bylaw 14.5.2), had he or she remained at the previous institution; (c) The student transfers from a four-year collegiate institution that did not sponsor the student-athlete’s sport and, while at that institution, the student-athlete: 1. Successfully completed at least 24-semester or 36-quarter hours of transferable-degree credit; and 2. Completed at least two full-time semesters or three full-time quarters.

The most likely cause of the issue is (b). Either the athletes were not eligible at the previous institution and the paperwork suggested they were or SUNYIT did not confirm in writing that the athletes were eligible. The article’s title says SUNYIT will miss the postseason, but it sounds like so far the school is only banned from the NEAC tournament. That might effectively ban them from the NCAA tournament with only 19 at-large bids available in the Division III tournament, but it does not appear from the article that the NCAA has ruled them ineligible for its tournament.

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