Boo hoo, BU.
That's the message being sent by the America East to Boston University, as the outgoing program (headed to the Patriot League) has been ruled ineligible to compete in the America East postseason in 2012-13.
In effect, this means Boston University has little-to-no shot at making the 2013 NCAA tournament; it last earned a Dance ticket in 2011. The America East has always been a one-bid league, and without the convenience of playing for the auto bid in the league playoff it would realistically take something along the lines of a 26-2 season for BU to merit at-large consideration.
So this year is basically all fundamental and merely for the school's record books. Update: BU officials contacted CBSSports.com to pass along this: The school was aware that the ban could take place, but hopeful the league would opt to implement the bylaw in 2013 instead of 2012.
Per the league's rulebook, under Section 4, part b:
"Upon notice of an institution's intention to withdraw from America East, the institution's teams become ineligible, on a date to be determined by the remaining members of the Board of Presidents, to compete for Conference postseason championships.”
Northeastern was able to skip out of the league seven years ago (it was after Northeastern bolted that the league decided to put a new bylaw into the rulebook), and when that happened, no such postseason ban was put into place. BU thought it might get similar treatment to Northeastern.
The America East is following in the footsteps of what the CAA voted to do to Old Dominion, VCU and Georgia. Basically, if you're leaving town, you don't get to participate in the conference tournaments. It's a lame-duck session for the outgoing schools, and it creates for some awkward arrangements. Just another downside to conference turnover.
VCU dodged this tactic in the CAA by negotiating an exit through the back door of the league's lodge this past spring. As of Sunday, Virginia Commonwealth became an official member of the Atlantic 10. But ODU and Georgia State are still out of luck. And so will BU.
"We are extremely disappointed in this decision, especially since it impacts our student-athletes," Boston University athletic director Mike Lynch said in a statement. "However, as we always do, we will face this challenge head on, band together, and make this a memorable year for BU athletics."
This tactic is one of the few power plays conferences have against defecting turncoats in their league. It's controversial because it punishes the people who have no say over this: the players. The players really don't care all too much what league they're playing in, as they long ago decided to pick their specific school.
Long after those players leave, school administrators and upper brass will still be around. They can ride out a year of losses on postseason play because they know -- or hope, at the very least -- a bigger payday is coming. The players? Especially seniors? Them's the breaks.
Boston University is a founding member of the America East conference, which formed in '79.