To review, UNT has played five games/exhibitions against teams that are not full Division I members. Buried deep within the NCAA rule book is this little gem — four non-DI games in fine. Five is a no-no.
UNT got caught up with the same problem that a few other teams and conferences across the college landscape did. There are a few teams making the move to Division I leagues that are not members of Division I in terms of counting as Division I foes for their opponents. UNT played Incarnate Word, which is one of them, pushing UNT from four such games to five.
Yeah, it’s confusing.
UNT and the Conference USA office are looking into it. There is also an appeal from the Southland before NCAA this week to waive the rule for the year.
The NCAA might just back off and let everyone skate. That would be the best scenario for UNT.
Still, it’s not the best of publicity for UNT.
I asked about UNT’s schedule over the summer. UNT wanted to have more home games than road games to give the team the best chance to succeed. And to be fair, UNT did go to Oklahoma and BYU.
OU and BYU are hanging around the RPI Top 50.
And two of the games in question were exhibitions. It wouldn’t have mattered if UNT had played Syracuse and Duke. Those games didn’t count any way.
With that being said, UNT didn’t do itself any favors by running afoul of the rule, especially after there were some people who were unhappy that the school dropped its series with UTA. That was a game UNT fans cared about and could get to easily.
My guess is that if the NCAA does not rescind the rule, UNT will have to forfeit one nonconference game.
In the large scheme of things, that isn’t the end of the world. UNT isn’t in a spot where it is real concerned about its RPI and NCAA tournament hopes.
UNT isn’t going anywhere unless it wins the C-USA tournament, no matter what its nonconference record looks like.
The school and the program can just chalk it up as a mistake — albeit one that draws attention to some of the lower level teams UNT has played.
I thought all along that UNT could use a marquee nonconference home game, but for the record, UNT does check in at No. 125 on Jerry Palm’s strength of schedule rankings. That’s higher than Purdue, Middle Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia.
UNT should find out what its fate is within the next two weeks. By then, UNT could also know if it is still has any hope of jumping into the C-USA race or is hopelessly buried at the bottom of the standings.
Either way, we should find out a lot about how the UNT hoops season will be remembered here pretty quickly.