Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alaska banned from postseason

The Alaska Nanooks are off to a good start this season at 5-3-0. But their hopes of playing in the playoffs were dashed on Wednesday when it was announced that they have been banned from the postseason due to a series of eligibility infractions involving 40 athletes in nine of the school's 10 sports between 2007 and 2011.

The ban comes with with other penalties, including scholarship reductions and a $30,000 fine. For hockey, the postseason ban includes the WCHA tournament.*

With the WCHA playoffs including the top eight finishers, the ninth-place team (provided it's not Alaska) will make the field this year. The Nanooks still could win the MacNaughton Cup as regular-season champion.

However, besides losing one scholarship for each of the next three years, Alaska must vacate its wins, points and individual statistics for games in which there was an eligibility issue.

According to a statement from UAF leaders, "these infractions are the result of university errors. They are not due to any wrongdoing by student athletes but rather stem from the university's failure to establish and maintain adequate systems to ensure that NCAA eligibility was being performed correctly. Our student-athletes are high academic achievers who display integrity in their sport These infractions are the university's responsibility, not theirs."

More details on the Alaska penalties can be found here. The 44-page NCAA report on the situation can be found here. Coverage from the Fairbanks News-Miner here.

Alaska will host Bowling Green in a WCHA series this weekend.

* The WCHA playoff ban makes sense, since you wouldn't want a team ineligible for the NCAA tournament to be in a position to win the league's at-large bid and cause certain chaos or be the team that prevents another team from winning the bid.

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