The Auburn men’s basketball program is self-imposing penalties and the team will be banned from the postseason for the upcoming 2020-21 season, as part of further fallout from the scandal involving former assistant coach Chuck Person.
Auburn announced Sunday that the team would forgo the postseason, saying both the NCAA and SEC had been notified.
It’s the latest in a list of sanctions taken on by Auburn after Person was arrested in 2017, which includes players being ruled ineligible, recruiting restrictions and, now, a dreaded postseason ban.
“We need to take this penalty now to put it behind us,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released Sunday night.
The release comes just four days before Auburn is set to tip off its season Thursday against St. Joseph’s in Fort Myers, Fla.
It stated the decision came ‘in light of’ the matter involving Person, who was charged with accepting $91,500 in bribes to steer pro prospects at Auburn to a financial adviser who was cooperating with the FBI’s investigation.
Austin Wiley was sat for the entirety of the 2017-18 season and Danjel Purifoy was sat for all of that season plus nine games of the 2018-19 season.
Auburn last July, in a victim impact statement filed in federal court before Person was sentenced, said then that it expected to receive another notice of allegations from the NCAA as a result of Person’s conduct. Auburn said then that Wiley received $800 from Person over 10 months and Purifoy received $1,250 from Person while his parents received roughly $4,500 in cash and hotel rooms from Person over eight months unbeknownst to the player.
While they sat, Auburn also self-imposed recruiting restrictions from the fall of 2017 to April of 2018, which limited unofficial visits, official visits, contacts, evaluations and phone calls during that time.
Person pled guilty in March 2019 on a bribery conspiracy charge.
“This was a difficult decision but the right decision,” Pearl said in his statement. “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.”
Auburn insisted the university would not comment further but will “hope for swift consideration and resolution of the matter.”
Auburn said it has cooperated with the NCAA on the matter and will continue to do so.