Detroit Mercy basketball loses postseason-ban appeal; Horizon tourney goes with 9 teams

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Horizon League men's basketball tournament next month will carry on with nine teams, not 10.

Detroit Mercy recently learned its appeal of a postseason ban has been denied by the NCAA, the university officially announced Tuesday.

The Detroit Mercy men's basketball team, coached by Mike Davis (left), will not play in this postseason after its appeal was denied by the NCAA.

Detroit Mercy in May learned it was one of eight Division I athletic programs to received a postseason ban due to failure to meet the minimum Academic Progress Report (APR) standards, but the only one in basketball.

The APR factored by the NCAA was from 2014-15 through 2017-18, with a score of 920. A 930 cumulative score is required by the NCAA.

The APR score at Detroit Mercy pre-dates not just head coach Mike Davis and his staff, but also everyone on the current roster, which was the basis for the athletic department's appeal.

"We are all pretty upset," Antoine Davis, the coach's son and star player, tweeted Tuesday night. "But we look to finish the season out strong despite the bad news."

Yeah we are all pretty upset but we look to finish the season out strong despite the bad news

Davis and his players said before the season that the ban was "unfair," but said they were soldiering on with a postiive attitude regardless.

"I think one day the NCAA is gonna make a rule that if no one is there that had anything to do with anything, then let it go, because then you're punishing someone that has nothing to do with what happened," Davis told The News in October. "At the same time, our focus is on building a program, and not just trying to go to the NCAA Tournament for one year."

Detroit Mercy found an unlikely ally in rival coach Greg Kampe of Oakland, who called the APR an "antique" in a tweet, adding the NCAA is "punishing the kids at Detroit that had nothing to do with this. It's wrong."

Detroit Mercy is 7-22 and 5-11 in the Horizon League this season, after going 11-20 and 8-10 in Davis' first year on the job after taking over for the fired Bacari Alexander.

The Horizon League updated its tournament bracket with the news Tuesday, announcing that the No. 3 seed would get a single-bye. Under the original format, the top two seeds received a double-bye, with the other eight teams playing a first-round game.

The top two seeds will still receive a double-bye.

The Horizon League tournament begins March 3 with first-round games on campus sites, followed by quarterfinals, also on campus sites.

The semifinals and finals are March 9-10 in Indianapolis, after spending four years in Detroit.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984