Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

Atlantic 10 Notebook

March 11, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Atlantic Ten Notebook

by David Francis

Xavier’s Wild Week

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to fill in the brackets, take 3 hour lunches, forget about everything else until 65 is down to 1.

It’s March. It’s tournament time. For a lot of people (including myself), this is the best time of the year. This is the time to take pride in the game I love, to celebrate the most exciting post-season format this side of the World Cup, to relish the fact that in college, most kids are playing not because of money or shoe contracts, but simply because they love the game.

That’s what makes what happened at St. Bonaventure this past week so disappointing.

In case you haven’t heard, the Bonnies elected to forfeit the rest of their season after it was discovered that junior college transfer Jamil Terrell never actually graduated from junior college. The Atlantic 10 forced the Bonnies to forfeit its six A-10 victories and banned them from playing in conference tournament because they used an ineligible player.

So what did the team do? It decided to forfeit its last two games. That’s right; instead of finishing the season without Terrell, St. Bonaventure quit. The team got together, without their coaches mind you, had a vote, and decided to quit.

My first reaction was indignation. How could a Division I college basketball team, many of them on scholarship, come to the conclusion that they would be better off to quit than to play their final two games? Do they not care for the university community, a community that feels shock and sadness, perhaps even betrayal, at their decision? Do they not take any pride in themselves individually or as a team? Despite the fact that they were losing one of their better players, the Bonnies had an obligation to their university and to themselves to finish the season.

St. Bonaventure is not Duke or North Carolina. But while their basketball traditions might not be storied, it is proud, Catholic university and their basketball team has historically been a reflection upon that pride. An NCAA bid, a run deep into the conference tournament-these were what mattered at St. Bonaventure. And these things were done with dignity. The player’s decision detracted from this.

I thought this until I found out more about what actually happened. What happened at St. Bonaventure was not the fault of the players. They were not cheating on test or betting on games. Terrell being named eligible was the fault of the university president, Robert Wickenheiser.

Wickenheiser was the one who declared Terrell eligible to play. In his fervor to win more basketball games, Wickenheiser ignored a few key eligibility requirements, like Terrell actually graduating from junior college. At the urging of head coach Jan van Breda Kolff, Wickenheiser OK’d Terrell with only a certificate in welding.

Then there’s the matter of banning the Bonnies from the A-10 tourney. I figured this was a punishment that had occurred at some point in the past, but as Stewart Mandel pointed out in his column on SI.com last week, there is absolutely no precedent for the A-10 higher-ups, led by Commissioner Linda Bruno, to ban a team from the tournament. The school forfeited the games it won with Terrell playing and has yet to be punished by the NCAA. It’s also not like they were going to stick Terrell, a center, at the point and hope no one noticed. They could have played the conference tournament without him.

So the players did nothing wrong and they got hosed in the decision by the A-10 not to allow them in the conference tournament. Does this make their decision not to finish the season right? I still don’t think so, if for no reason other than scholarships. There are a lot of kids paying a lot of money to go to St. Bonaventure. If I were one of them, I would be a bit perturbed that kids who go for free simply because they play basketball didn’t feel like fulfilling their end of the bargain.

I also don’t understand how a team could just give up. What about playing for pride? What about proving you can win without breaking the rules? You can go on and on about how the administration and coaching staff gives them nothing to be proud of, that they can’t take pride in playing in a crooked system. But ultimately, they’re playing for themselves and their classmates. That should be motivation enough to set aside whatever reservations you might have and play because you’re a member of a team representing something larger than the sum of its parts.

Whatever you think about the Bonnies’ decision, it’s just an ugly way to end a basketball season. March is supposed to be a time to celebrate college basketball. When things like this happen, I can’t wait for baseball.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.