Louisville has announced that its men's basketball team will not participate 2015-16 postseason. The move is part of self-imposed sanctions connected to an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and recruiting violations.
Louisville's withdrawal from the ACC Tournament means for a second straight season, the league's tournament will go forward without the full complement of teams present. Syracuse chose a postseason ban in the midst of NCAA trouble last season.
As is the case with many NCAA sanctions self-imposed or otherwise, the wrong parties bear the brunt of the penalty. In this case the Cardinal players have today been informed that the remaining nine games of the season are completely meaningless and the big win over UNC on Monday night was for naught. Specifically, Cardinal players Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, graduate student transfers into the program and both having excellent seasons, will be completely screwed out of the opportunity to play on college basketball's biggest stage.
Yes, Louisville broke the rules as did UNC. Both deserve some form of punishment but the continued doling out of discipline that impacts the wrong people really needs to stop. The Louisville players did nothing to deserve what's coming to them nor should they be forced bear it without first being given a choice to transfer or leave for the professional ranks.
As for the impact on UNC, the Tar Heel lead in the ACC standings is now two games again. In theory Louisville could still finish first but as was the case in 2012 with UNC football, the ACC does not recognize a team under postseason ban as a divisional or league champion.