Georgia Tech withdraws appeal, will miss ACC Tournament

Georgia TechGeorgia Tech will not take part in next week’s ACC Tournament, after the school announced Monday that it has withdrawn its appeal of a one-season NCAA Tournament ban.

The school had filed an appeal of the ban back in September. The ban was handed down after the NCAA ruled that former assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie and Ron Bell, a friend of head coach Josh Pastner, had committed major recruiting violations.

The violations included the provision of shoes, clothes, meals, transportation and lodging, a paid visit to a strip club for a recruit and the arrangement of a meeting with an alum playing in the NBA.

In addition to the one-year postseason ban, the NCAA is reducing the number of scholarships that the program can award by one each year from 2019-2020 through 2022-2023, and is also prohibiting Georgia Tech from scheduling official visits for recruits in conjunction with home basketball games through 2020-2021.

“Since the appeals process will extend beyond this current season, we feel that it is in the best interest of our men’s basketball program – and especially the 14 student-athletes that return to the team – to drop our appeal of the competition penalty,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “I feel very good about the future of our men’s basketball program and, therefore, want to remove the cloud of a potential postseason ban from hanging over our team as we move into next season and beyond.

“I support the decision of our administration to withdraw the appeal of the competition penalty and am happy to know that we’ll have this penalty behind us as we go into 2020-21,” Pastner said in a statement. “Like our administration, I’m sad for our two seniors who won’t have the opportunity to participate in the postseason in their final year. We will do everything in our power over the final two games of the season to send James and Shembari out on a high note.”

The decision impacts other ACC schools as well. With Georgia Tech out of the mix, the ACC Tournament will now feature two first-round games on Tuesday, pitting the 11 and 14 seeds, and the 12 and 13 seeds.

There are currently three teams tied for the 11th spot in the conference standings – Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Miami, all with 6-12 league records.

Pitt is in 14th with a 6-13 record, and North Carolina is 15th with a 5-13 record.

Boston College is just ahead of that group in 10th with a 7-11 ACC mark.

Georgia Tech is currently among five teams tied for fifth place with a 9-9 record.

Two members of that group of six teams will advance to second-round games on Wednesday because of Georgia Tech’s absence.

Story by Chris Graham

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