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NCAA disputes Detroit Mercy's account on postseason ban appeal

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Detroit Mercy's athletic department said Tuesday that it had been told by the NCAA "this week" that its appeal of a men's basketball postseason ban was denied.

The NCAA on Wednesday emphatically said that's not true — that there was no Detroit Mercy appeal, and nor could there have been.

Mike Davis

A spokesperson for the NCAA said there was no available appeal process after the initial announcements were made in May, when eight Division I athletic programs — Detroit Mercy's being the only basketball team — were handed out punishments for substandard academic rates over a four-year period through 2017-18.

The NCAA spokesperson said the only appeal process would've been before the May announcement was made, and added that Detroit Mercy did not appeal then either.

"They knew then," said Michelle Hosick, associate director for communications for the NCAA. "All appeals and waiver (requests) are done (before May).

"And they did not appeal or submit a waiver (request)."

Hosick said she couldn't confirm whether Detroit Mercy and the NCAA have had any recent discussions about any possible future punishment.

The NCAA on Wednesday, following the media reports on the appeal denial Tuesday, contacted both Detroit Mercy and the Horizon League to clarify the situation.

Repeated messages to Detroit Mercy from The News seeking comment weren't immediately returned Wednesday.

Detroit Mercy's press release that was sent out Tuesday drew heat toward the NCAA, even from rival Oakland coach Greg Kampe, who called the process "wrong."

The Academic Progress Report (APR) score for Detroit Mercy from 2014-15 through 2017-18 was 920, below the minimum-required score of 930. But that APR score was accumulated before head coach Mike Davis' tenure at Detroit Mercy; no coaches or players currently on the roster were a part of that four-year tenure.

"You're punishing the kids at Detroit that had nothing to do with this," Kampe wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. "It's wrong. Please fix it. Let those kids play!"

Detroit Mercy is 7-22 and 5-11 in the Horizon League this season, after going 11-20 and 8-10 in Davis' first season.

With the postseason ban, the Horizon League tournament will now include nine teams instead of 10, meaning the No. 3 seed now will get a first-round bye. The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will continue to get a double-bye.

The tournament begins March 3 on campus sites, before switching to Indianapolis for the semifinals and final, following a four-year run in Detroit.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984