Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breaking News: Binghamton withdraws from America East Tournament

After a tumultuous regular season set against the backdrop of widespread misconduct and uncertainty about the program's future, the Binghamton University Bearcats have withdrawn from the America East Tournament.

While Binghamton's withdrawal was included in today's notebook, the timing of the announcement is particularly odd. Binghamton's absence affects every single team's quarterfinal matchup (and in the case of UMBC and Albany, allows them to bypass the play-in game and earn quarterfinal berths). In addition, many tickets have already been sold to Binghamton supporters whose team is no longer participating. Thursday's play-in game session no longer features a game from the men's bracket.

Binghamton University President Lois DeFleur, herself a party in the turmoil surrounding the Bearcats' basketball program, cited "possible distractions that may occur this weekend" and "the controversy currently surrounding the program" as key factors influencing the decision. Per DeFleur, the decision to withdraw was made by the university, not by the conference.

Absent an official statement from America East concerning the withdrawal, there is no way to confirm or deny the role the conference played in arriving at this decision. However, given the significant affect Binghamton's absence will have on the tournament, it's safe to say the conference was probably involved to some degree.

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