The Indiana University Northwest Office of Student Life and Athletics announced Thursday that the Lady RedHawks basketball team has forfeited five early victories from its 2008-09 season in accordance with rulings by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) pertaining to an eligibility infraction that the university self-reported in November 2008.
Due to these rulings, and in accordance with NAIA bylaws (Article V, section C, item 8), IU Northwest has notified the Illinois Institute of Technology, Andrews University, Trinity Christian College, Judson University, and Ashford University of the change in status for the games in question. As a result of the forfeitures, IU Northwest’s record has dropped from 18-10 to 13-15.
IU Northwest Director of Student Life and Athletics Charles Gary, Ph.D., described the infraction as an unintentional error related to a non-starting player, and he emphasized that the university self-reported the problem to the NAIA when it was discovered earlier this season. IU Northwest sought to appeal the NAIA ruling but learned this week that its appeal had been denied. Gary said that his department has taken proactive measures to ensure that similar infractions do not occur in the future.
“The RedHawks athletic staff acted quickly and appropriately in identifying and self-reporting what appeared, at the time, to be a minor infraction,” Gary said Thursday. “We are extremely disappointed by the harshness of these sanctions. I, along with the IU Northwest administration and the campus community, feel that we made the right decision concerning this matter, and we are happy that our program has built the foundation for a reputation of integrity.”
The USCAA, of which IU Northwest is also a member, informed the school this week that it would also require the Lady RedHawks to forfeit the games in question. Despite the change in record, however, there remains a possibility that the IU Northwest women’s team will receive an at-large bid to the USCAA National Tournament, which will be held in Pittsburgh the week of March 2. The team should learn its USCAA playoff status early next week. The RedHawk men’s team has already locked up an invite to that same tournament.
“Even though we are finishing the regular season below .500, we feel consoled by the outside opportunity for the Lady RedHawks to compete for a USCAA national title,” Gary said. “These sanctions should in no way diminish the accomplishments and rapid turnaround of our athletic program, or the success of the outstanding student-athletes on our women’s team.”