Monday, March 1, 2010

Binghamton pulling out?

In quite possibly the most bizarre twist in the sorry Binghamton University basketball saga, there are reports circulating that the Bearcats may not take part in this weekend's America East Tournament.

Yes, only two days before all the teams congregate in Hartford, it appears there is some question about the attendance of the fifth-seeded team. Binghamton is scheduled to play Boston U. Saturday afternoon in the tourney's second quarterfinal matchup.

The New York Times reported that Binghamton University and the conference are "trying to decide if the Bearcats will play in the tourney."

Of course, this has a major impact on every team in the field because if Binghamton is out, then all the matchups change and the play-in game on Thursday (UMBC and Albany) would be canceled.

Hartford would move up to No. 5 (and play Boston U.), New Hampshire would slide to No. 6 (UMaine), UMBC would move to No. 7 (Vermont) and Albany takes the No. 8 spot (Stony Brook).

This not acceptable on many different fronts.

First, the notion that Binghamton and the league are trying to decide is laughable. The league, if it was going to make a decision to exclude Binghamton for its transgressions, would have done so long ago; or, at minimum, shortly after the results of a State of New York System investigation were released a month ago.

The fact that Binghamton's participation is in question at this late stage clearly indicates that the school is getting wet feet about taking part in the tournament and possibly bringing more attention and spotlight on its recent misdeeds.

The league spoke loud and clear by selling tickets and promoting a tournament that includes nine schools. In fact, the league's website extolls the excitement of 18 teams (men's and women's) playing for their respective NCAA bids. If America East had plans to exclude Binghamton's men's team it would have been done long before now.

In no uncertain terms, the league should move fast to quash any Binghamton attempt to exit the tournament. This is a joke.

Binghamton needs to get its house in order -- that much is clear -- but not at the expense of the other eight schools in the league. If Binghamton pulls out of the tournament, they should be told, "Don't show up next year, either. In fact, make it two years. We'll see you in 2013."

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