NCAA and South Atlantic Region officials said yesterday the University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team, because of an ineligible player, has very little chance -- if any -- of being considered for a Division II playoff bid.
School officials had not received official notification yesterday as to whether if would have to forfeit 11 games in which sophomore transfer Terrance Ball played, but took the initiative and forfeited the games Monday.
UDC's acting athletic director, Emma Best, said the school decided to forfeit the games in the "interest of fair play but hoped" the NCAA selection committees would look at the entire situation and grant the school an at-large playoff bid.
James Battle, athletic director at Virginia Union and chairman of the South Atlantic Region (of which UDC is included), said he would nominate UDC despite its sub-.500 record (the best UDC could finish is 13-15) but doubted if the independent school had any chance of being selected.
"I can't say for sure UDC won't be picked but I would guess their chances are slim and none," Battle said. "That ineligible player virtually destroys any chance. The NCAA won't look at the forfeits as much as it will at the ineligible player."
Dennis Poppe, the NCAA chairman of the men's championships, echoed Battle's sentiments.
"My office has not been notified officially but I understand the school will forfeit the games," he said. "According to the circumstances, if I had to make a decision today, I would have to say UDC would not be considered for a playoff berth. We have a clause in the book that says, if any player who was a starter or key reserve was declared ineligible, that team will not be considered for postseason play.
"I also do not know of any team that has been ever been selected for postseason play with a sub-.500 record unless it earned an automatic bid by winning a tournament."
"If anyone should be angry at Ms. Best, it should be me," Coach Wil Jones said, "but I know she made an honest mistake. I feel very bad for Terrance and Lyndon DeBellotte. Terrance made an honest mistake and it got past Ms. Best."
UDC's women beat Winston-Salem State Monday night, 93-54, behind Malissa Stephenson's 24 points and 13 rebounds. In winning their 15th straight and improving to 21-2, the Firebirds equaled their victory record of 21 in 1979-80. They have three games remaining.