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Auburn will not play in the 2020-21 men’s basketball postseason

Sanctions from the NCAA will keep the Tigers from the postseason in 2021.

Malik Dunbar of the Auburn Tigers shakes hands with head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers as he leaves the court after losing in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Auburn Tigers have self-imposed a postseason ban now to avoid the wrath of the NCAA later according to an official statement from the school.

The Auburn men’s basketball program will forgo postseason competition for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. The NCAA and the SEC have been notified.

The athletics department and university administration, in conjunction with Coach Bruce Pearl, made the decision after careful deliberation and in light of the ongoing matter that surfaced in fall 2017 regarding former assistant coach Chuck Person. Auburn has cooperated with the NCAA and will continue to do so.

Bruce Pearl Statement

“This was a difficult decision but the right decision. 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.”

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

The Tigers doing this now is pretty unfair to the student-athletes that will now be unable to transfer so close to the start of the college basketball season. The first games of 2020 begin on November 25th, just three days from now. Some would call this Karma for the previous reporting of other’s misbehavior by Auburn coach Bruce Pearl when he was at Tennessee.

This traces back to the arrest of former assistant coach Chuck Person, who pled guilty sentenced to 200 hours of community service but no jail time for his participation in a scheme where coaches would be compensated for moving players towards agents and financial advisors that weren’t actually agents or financial advisors, but a front for an FBI undercover investigation.

Self-imposing punishments such as scholarship deductions, limiting recruiting visits, and postseason bans are a common tactic for schools looking for mercy from the NCAA infractions process. And with the 2020-21 season very much in flux anyway, it appears the Tigers are hoping to take their medicine now rather than later.

The Tigers had the #9th best recruiting class of 2021 according to ESPN.com, and received eight total votes in the AP Preseason Poll.