The Auburn men's basketball program has self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2020-21 season, the school announced in a statement on Sunday. The decision stems from the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption, in which former assistant Chuck Person was implicated.
“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. "Because of the ongoing matter, we will not comment further but hope for swift consideration and resolution of the matter."
Person was one of four college basketball assistant coaches to be arrested in September 2017, a group that included Emanuel "Book" Richardson of Arizona, Tony Bland of USC and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State. In July 2019, Person was sentenced to two years of community service, but avoided jail time.
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl called the decision a difficult but necessary step in moving forward to put the investigation behind them.
“This was a difficult decision but the right decision," Peal said. "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.”
Auburn went 25-6 last season, finishing the year ranked No. 20 in the AP poll in Pearl's sixth season with the program. The Tigers last made the NCAA tournament in 2019, advancing to the Final Four for the first time in school history.