NCAA denies Toledo grades appeal

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Toledo men's basketball team will be banned from next year's postseason because of past academic problems after the NCAA denied the school's appeal.

The ban stems from several years of below-standard scores on the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate that a year ago cost Toledo three scholarships.

The NCAA earlier this year banned Connecticut's men's basketball team postseason because of several years of low scores, leading two members of Congress to say that the system used to enforce the NCAA standards appeared to be arbitrary and unfair.

Toledo argued that the NCAA should consider its most recent academic performance from 2011-12. It said the team's grades have exceeded the NCAA standards under second-year coach Tod Kowalczyk.

"It is simply a question of fairness," athletic director Mike O'Brien said.

The NCAA approved rules in October requiring a school have a two-year average score of 930 or a four-year average of 900 on the APR, which measures the academic performance of student-athletes, in order to qualify for the 2013 postseason tournament.

Toledo's two-year scores from 2009-11 fell just short and the school said it would not have faced a postseason ban if the latest scores would have been considered.

"I fully support the NCAA and its efforts to improve academic integrity, but I don't believe coaches and student-athletes who are doing the right thing should be penalized like this," Kowalczyk said.

UConn officials made a similar argument in their unsuccessful attempt to appeal its postseason ban. In addition to the ban, Toledo will be forced to give up three regular-season games and cut its practice time.

The Rockets, who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1980, were short three scholarships because of poor academics last season, but still managed to finish in the middle of the Mid-American Conference.