|Mike McMahon/The Record|
- Joe Jones
and his team don't talk about their postseason aspirations. That's because there's a slim chance his Boston University team will be playing in March this year.
It's not because the Terriers aren't any good. Boston University is not allowed to compete in the America East Conference postseason tournament, in any sport this season.
They aren't facing sanctions or dealing with the result of a recruiting scandal. They are simply leaving and the America East won't let them play any longer.
Boston University is headed for the Patriot League in 2013-14. The America East is citing the conference's bylaws, saying any school that has announced its intention to leave the league, won't be allowed to participate in postseason play.
“Certainly there was some frustration," said Jones, the men's basketball coach. "I think we all really felt for the seniors, on all the sports teams at BU.”
This isn't the only program going through this type of thing, but finding life much easier. The University at Albany football team is leaving the Northeast Conference. The Great Danes are the defending champions and will still be able to earn the league's postseason bid, despite announcing their intention to move to the Colonial Athletic Association next season.
The Loyola (Md.) men's basketball team is the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions. Their school is also headed to the Patriot League and they can still compete in this year's postseason tournament.
“No question you wish that the decision was different," said Jones, about his school's predicament. "But we have no control over that.”
Jones and his female counterpart, Kelly Greenberg
, were in attendance on Tuesday at SEFCU Arena, as the conference celebrated media day. Their teams won't get the chance to take the floor, in March, when the postseason tournament comes to town.
These aren't bottom feeder programs. The men's squad is picked third, while the women's team was chosen second, in the preseason poll announced on Tuesday.
The men's team also lost its best player, senior Jake O'Brien
, who transferred to Temple, following the ruling.
“I’ve been really impressed with how our guys have handled the decision," said Jones.
Jones, currently, doesn't have a single senior on his 11-man roster, so he knows he is building for the future, both in the America East and the Patriot League.
“I think they understand that we’re in this for two years together," he said.
Jones comes from the Ivy League, where there still is no postseason tournament. He knows that it can be tough to motivate a team towards the end of the season, if they are mathematically out of it. He also knows what it takes to do just that.
“Our leadership is very good on this team," Jones said.
The Boston University teams WILL
be able to earn the automatic berth to the NIT/WNIT,
which can be earned if a team wins its regular season and doesn't win
the conference tournament. (Updated with word from America East spokesperson)
So even before the season begins, there is a small likelihood Boston University can reach the NCAA tournament. If the Terriers can win every game they play, they would surely get a chance to dance.
"I might retire if that happens," laughed Jones.
Labels: America East, Boston U., College Basketball, Jake O'Brien, Joe Jones, Kelly Greenberg, Patriot League