NCAA rule will prevent conference champion from participating in the NCAA Tournament
One of the best stories of the college basketball season won’t get to play itself out this March due to an obscure NCAA rule.
Bellarmine won the ASUN conference tournament this week, which would normally mean an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. But because Bellarmine is still in the transition phase from Division II, it is ineligible to play in the Big Dance.
That means Jacksonville State — who lost in the semifinals of the ASUN Tournament but won the regular season — will head to the Big Dance instead.
This has been termed a “miscarriage of justice” by college basketball insider Jon Rothstein — and he’s not alone in that feeling. Here’s some of the reaction to Bellarmine’s exclusion from the NCAA Tournament:
Bellarmine wins the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
But Bellarmine is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.
So Jacksonville State — who Jacksonville — who lost to Bellarmine tonight — beat in the semis — will go instead.
A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE!
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 9, 2022
Bellarmine not being eligible or allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament is the dumbest rule In sports history
— ᴋᴇᴠɪɴ ᴡʀɪɢʜᴛ (@KLW0408) March 8, 2022
Bellarmine is gonna be the school people remember for exposing how dumb the NCAA’s “transition rule” is.
— Nick Coffey (@TheCardConnect) March 8, 2022
Let Bellarmine Dance you jerks! @NCAA
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) March 9, 2022
Jeff Goodman had an interesting idea that could serve as a compromise — let Bellarmine play in the NIT.
I really hope the NIT invites Bellarmine. Won league tourney, but not allowed to go to NCAA tourney because only in year 2 of 4-year NCAA transition period.
Regular-season winner gets auto NIT bid, but Jacksonville State will go to NCAA instead of NIT.
Put Bellarmine in NIT.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 9, 2022
Bellarmine is in its second season with the ASUN. It went 20-13 this season with an 11-5 record in conference play.