St. Bonaventure will remain in A-10

St. Bonaventure will remain a member of the Atlantic 10 conference after its men’s basketball team forfeited its final two games last month, university presidents decided in their bi-annual meeting held Tuesday at GW’s University Club.

The 12 university presidents of the conference discussed St. Bonaventure’s ongoing investigation into the use of an ineligible player and subsequent suspension of the teams’ season last month.

“The rumors about the Bonnies being put out of the A-10 were highly inflated,” GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said. “There was no serious thought given to putting them out, unless we discovered, or they self-reported, violations that we were unaware of.”

Last month, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team was forced to forfeit six conference wins because it used an ineligible player, junior transfer Jamil Terrell. After the presidents endorsed the forfeitures and banned the team from the 2003 Atlantic 10 tournament, St. Bonaventure players made a controversial decision to forego their final two games.

St. Bonaventure President Robert Wickenheiser resigned and head coach Jan van Brenda Kolff was placed on administrative leave after much scrutiny from acquiescing to the players’ decision. Trachtenberg said the presidents think the program has “taken great strides to put their house in order.

“(Interim president Rev. Dominic Monti and chair of the university’s board of trustees Bill Swan) were very thorough and very disclosing, and we decided there was nothing for us to do,” he said. “Our intention was in getting the team back on its feet and having a credible program again.”

St. Bonaventure must provide the presidents council with results of its internal investigation as well as the NCAA investigation, and will reimburse Richmond, Massachusetts, the A-10 and A-10 TV a combined $120,000 for financial losses incurred as a result of the last two forfeited games.

GW Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said he agrees with the council’s decision and that the Bonnies are “doing what they have to do.”

Trachtenberg said it is the council’s assumption that the investigations will not provide any new information that Monti and Swan have not already disclosed, but said the council will deal with any new information as it comes up.

If any new information were to surface, Trachtenberg, as president-elect of next year’s council, would be a major player in any rulings.

Voted in by the other 11 presidents Tuesday, Trachtenberg will have to chair the A-10 presidents meetings and must be available to “hold the hand of the commissioner” in the event of any issues.

“If we have a crisis like this one, I have to be there to straighten it out,” he said.

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