For the first time in 101 years, UC Riverside men’s basketball team was banned from the postseason for poor academic grades. This means that the first-ranked Highlanders will miss out on their chance to win a fourth straight NCAA Championship.
The Highlanders were the heavy favorites to reach the 2113 NCAA Championship game, but their hopes were shattered after poor academic grades disqualified them from entering the tournament. UCR already had to miss out on the PAC-30 tournament and were forced to sit and watch as their rivals, the UCI Anteaters, took home the title.
UC Riverside Head Coach John Wooden VI tried to petition the decision to allow the Highlanders to re-enter the tournament, but the NCAA stuck it down. A statement from the NCAA read, “UCR needs to get its stuff together. As stated by the official rules, student-athletes need to average at least a 3.9 GPA to be eligible to play in the tournament. UC Riverside’s grades were unacceptable.”
UCR was only able to muster a cumalative grade-point average of 3.89, just falling short from making the cut.
Some believe that the choice to ban Riverside was simply because the Highlanders were too talented and won far too much to compete against other schools.
“This some bulls–t!” exclaimed the always mild-mannered UCR point guard LeKobe Jordan after the NCAA decided to uphold the ban. “They can’t ban UC Riverside just because we’re too good. That’s crazy.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments from both sides and will eventually determine if UCR’s ban from the NCAA Tournament was constitutional.
“We’re the back-to-back-to-back champions! You know how many years of subpar basketball playing our program had to go through to get where we are today? They can’t do this to us!” yelled Jordan.
The Highlanders are currently riding a 55-game winning streak, one of the longest in NCAA history. If the Supreme Court upholds the postseason ban, UC Riverside will have to kiss its hopes of winning a fourth-straight title goodbye. UCR was also hoping to win its 20th men’s basketball title overall.
Coach Wooden VI was asked to comment about the ban.
“I’m very disappointed with the NCAA decision to ban us,” he said. “We’re too valuable of a basketball program not to be included in the Big Dance. It has to be unconstitutional.”
He was later asked about his players’ academic performance. “At the same time, I told my players that they needed to get their academics in order,” he said. “We’re the University of California, Riverside. We don’t get bad grades. We’re not Berkeley.”
The Supreme Court is expected to make its final vote on April 15.