Binghamton withdraws from postseason
Binghamton announced Monday that it has voluntarily withdrawn from the America East Conference tournament, citing "possible distractions" while the school addresses a review of the troubled program.
"After numerous discussions and considerations of the possible distractions that may occur this weekend, Binghamton University has elected not to participate" in the tournament where the Bearcats, who finished 13-18 overall and 8-8 in the conference under interim coach Mark Macon, were to be the No. 5 seed.
"This action is being done voluntarily as part of our commitment to move forward as we develop a comprehensive plan to address the recommendations of the recent review," outgoing president Lois DeFleur said in a statement.
One year after making the NCAAs, Binghamton has had coaches placed on leave and players kicked off the team stemming from all sorts of allegations, including dubious enrollments and lax enforcement of academic standards for athletes, detailed in a recent report led by retired New York chief judge Judith Kaye.
The report concluded that academic integrity was sacrificed after the school moved in 2001 from Division III to the world of big-time college athletics.
SUNY began its investigation in October following six players being kicked off the team after one was arrested on cocaine charges. Coach Kevin Broadus was suspended with pay from his $217,000 job after the university self-reported recruiting violations.
Athletics director Joel Thirer resigned after a female employee claimed she was sexually harassed and filed a lawsuit against two athletics officials and two boosters.
In addition, there were allegations that an athletics employee had pressured an adjunct lecturer into giving preferential treatment to an athlete.
The tournament, now down to eight teams, will begin Saturday in West Hartford, Conn., with the quarterfinals. The No. 8 vs. No. 9 game was eliminated from the bracket and the teams finishing lower than Binghamton in the conference standings -- Hartford, New Hampshire, UMBC and Albany -- were all moved up one slot.
"We commend our student-athletes and coaches for the dedication and determination they have maintained throughout this very challenging year," said DeFleur. "They have surpassed expectations. However with the controversy currently surrounding the program it is not appropriate we play in this year's postseason."
Diamond Leung covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.