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College Basketball

Auburn Self-Imposes Postseason Ban for the 2020-21 Season

Sunday evening, Auburn men’s basketball has self-imposed a one-year postseason ban for the 2020-21 season.

The ban comes as a result of the investigation into former assistant coach Chuck Person. The FBI had been investigating corruption in college basketball and arrested Person as well as three other assistant coaches in September of 2017. To “get out ahead” of the NCAA’s ensuing investigation, the program decided to punish itself by not participating in the postseason of 2021.

Auburn made the decision after many conversations between the athletics department, university administration and head coach Bruce Pearl.

“This was a difficult decision but the right decision,” Pearl said. “I hate it for our current players. They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again. It’s a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us.”

The decision stems from a bribery scheme, involving the influence of money on college basketball. Person, who joined Pearl’s staff as an assistant coach in 2014, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to steer players to a financial adviser. The NCAA also accused him of helping facilitate money to players’ families. The government alleged he provided $11,000 to one player’s family and $7,500 to another’s.

Since then, Person has been sentenced in 2019 to community service and two years of probation. The two players whose families took money from Person sat out a season and then graduated.

“We regret the impact this decision has on our student-athletes, yet it was made in the best long-term interest of the program,” Auburn said in a statement. “Because of the ongoing matter, we will not comment further, but hope for swift consideration and resolution of the matter.”

Auburn has informed the SEC and NCAA of its decision to withdraw from the 2020-21 postseason.

 

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