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SLU can't add game due to NCAA rules

SLU can't add game due to NCAA rules

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Billikens beat La Salle 78-57

Unlike Illinois and Mizzou, coach Travis Ford and St. Louis University are still fighting to reach the NCAA bracket. Here, Ford looks to the clock during a second half timeout against La Salle headed for a 78-57 win at Chaifetz Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

An attempt by St. Louis University to add a game to its basketball schedule before the NCAA Tournament field is announced was stopped because of NCAA rules.

An NCAA spokesman cited bylaw 17.4.5.3 and said in an email “Generally, NCAA rules do not permit teams to schedule games after they exit a conference tournament.”

SLU is believed to have been in discussion with Xavier about playing a game before Sunday. Both teams are considered on the bubble for an at-large berth after losses in their tourneys. No one appeared to have knowledge of any such roadblock until Thursday night or Friday morning.

The reason given by the NCAA is that the addition of games would likely make a team exceed the maximum number of allowable games in a typical year. However, that is not the case in SLU’s situation.

The NCAA also cited bylaw 17.1.9, which reads in part “Makeup Contests. An institution is not permitted to extend the playing season to make up suspended or canceled games.” This also does not appear to apply to SLU’s situation.

It remains unclear if SLU was intent on playing an additional game. Coach Travis Ford and athletics director Chris May said this week that the value of playing an extra game would be weighed against the possibility of being selected for the field with the Billikens’ current record. The Billikens do not appear to have lost ground in that respect since the start of the week.

The topic of adding games between conference tournaments and Selection Sunday has not been necessary until COVID-19 drastically reduced the number of games teams could play.

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