Auburn implements one-year postseason ban as part of federal corruption investigation

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Bruce Pearl and the Auburn men’s basketball team won’t be headed to the NCAA tournament — or any other postseason tournament — this year.

Auburn announced on Sunday afternoon that it had implemented a one-year postseason ban due to its investigation into bribery charges against former assistant Chuck Person.

“This was a difficult decision but the right decision,” Pearl said in a statement, via the Montgomery Advertiser. “I hate it for our current players. They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again. It’s a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us.”

Person was arrested in 2017 as part of the federal corruption investigation into corruption in the college basketball world. He later pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in order to persuade players to a specific financial adviser and was accused of playing players’ families. According to ESPN, Person allegedly paid $11,000 to one player’s family and $7,500 to another player’s family. He was sentenced to community service and two years probation.

Person was one of several assistants who was arrested in the scandal, along with former Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, former Arizona assistant Book Richardson and former USC assistant Tony Bland.

Auburn implemented a self-imposed recruiting ban from September 2017 to April 2018 as a result of the investigation, but never announced the sanction. The school is expecting an NCAA rules violation to be handed down in the near future, though it has said the violations were “isolated to Person” and that they were “committed in a way so as to avoid Auburn’s detection,” per the Advertiser.

Pearl has been with the Tigers since 2014, and compiled a 125-78 overall record in his six seasons there while reaching the NCAA tournament twice and the Final Four in 2019.

“We regret the impact this decision has on our student-athletes, yet it was made in the best long-term interest of the program,” the school said in a statement, via the Advertiser. “Because of the ongoing matter, we will not comment further but hope for swift consideration and resolution of the matter.”

Head Coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers
Auburn implemented a one-year postseason ban on Sunday night. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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