Stephen F. Austin avoids bans, agrees to NCAA sanctions


HOUSTON (AP) — Stephen F. Austin avoided postseason bans for low scores on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate on Wednesday by agreeing to several sanctions including probation, scholarship reductions and the forfeiture of wins.

Stephen F. Austin’s football, men’s basketball and baseball teams were on a nationwide list released Tuesday that could have faced bans for posting a four-year score below 930. The scores are based on academic eligibility, graduation and retention. Athletes receive one point a semester by remaining academically eligible and another if they graduate or come back to school for the next term.

Stephen F. Austin’s men’s basketball team had the lowest score of any team in Division I at 810 and its football program was also one of six other Division I teams nationwide that fell below 900 at 894.

The school’s baseball team also fell below the 930 mark.

Instead, the school agreed with the NCAA to several sanctions, the most severe of which includes three years of probation, a public reprimand and censure and a fine of $5,000 plus half of 1% of the total budget for men’s basketball and football.

Stephen F. Austin also agreed to return 50 percent of its financial share earned from participating in the 2016 NCAA tournament and forfeited 289 victories in four sports where an ineligible student-athletes participated. That includes 117 victories by the men’s basketball team from 2014-2019, 112 wins in baseball from 2015-2019, 29 wins in football from 2013-19 and 31 softball victories in 2018.

By vacating those wins the men’s basketball team forfeits three conference championships and its win in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament. The school will remove banners recognizing those accomplishments from its coliseum.

Stephen F. Austin must reduce its scholarships for football in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons by 2.5% and cut its baseball scholarships by 5% in either the 2020-21 or 2021-22 season. The men’s basketball team will lose one scholarship in either the 2020-21 or 2021-22 season.