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UH will appeal postseason ban for basketball team

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    David Matlin, UH Athletic Director, responds to NCAA sanction regarding the University of Hawaii basketball program at Clarence Ching Complex in Manoa on Tuesday, December 22, 2015.

The University of Hawaii announced today it will appeal the NCAA’s recent decision to ban the UH basketball team from postseason play in the 2016-17 season, on the grounds that it punishes student-athletes who had nothing to do with the violations that caused the NCAA investigation.

UH noted in a release that a final decision is expected by “early summer 2016.” UH has 30 days to present its case for appeal and the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions has 30 days to respond.

On Dec. 22, the NCAA came down with penalties on the UH program for the actions of former coach Gib Arnold, including the postseason ban, three years of probation and two docked scholarships for the next two seasons. As part of its justification for the penalties, It cited a disconnect between the basketball program and the UH compliance office.

“The university has readily accepted the majority of the penalties handed down by the NCAA,” said UH athletic director David Matlin in UH’s release. “We acknowledge that mistakes were made and offer no excuses, but we must support our student-athletes who had absolutely nothing to do with this unfortunate situation. They should not be punished for the mistakes of others.”

UH noted that it has the support of Big West Conference commissioner Dennis Farrell.

The postseason ban, more so than the other sanctions, could be devastating for new coach Eran Ganot. Should the ban remain, UH’s junior class could transfer to another Division I team for next season without the usual penalty of sitting out games that year.

The Rainbow Warriors (11-2) open Big West play tonight against Cal Poly (6-7) at the Stan Sheriff Center. UH is eligible for the postseason this year.

Arnold, now a scout for the Boston Celtics, was fired by UH “without cause” prior to the 2014-15 season. Simultaneously as UH’s punishment, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions handed him a three-year “show cause” order. An NCAA institution looking to hire him through 2018 would have to demonstrate why it should be allowed to, given that several Level II violations against Arnold were substantiated.

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