Technically, James Madison is eligible for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Fundamentally, the Dukes are ineligible for the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
James Madison had “full knowledge of the consequences of its decision” when announcing its intention to leave the CAA for the Sun Belt after the 2021-22 academic year, the CAA said in a mid-November statement that reaffirmed the conference’s denial of JMU’s eligibility waiver request for conference championships. And without a conference championship, the Dukes’ men’s basketball can’t play the NCAA Tournament.
In 43 years of existence, the CAA has sent multiple teams to the tourney only five times, none since 2011, one year after which the CAA was unofficially relegated to a one-bid league with the departure of VCU and George Mason to the Atlantic 10. And since realignment, the conference has never sniffed at-large consideration. So while James Madison is still eligible for an at-large bid in 2022, they are incapable of receiving one, thus making them, for all intents and purposes, ineligible for the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
The same goes for UIC, who was banned from the Horizon League Tournament for similar reasons before their planned departure to the Missouri Valley Conference.
The childish rulings pushed the Dukes and Flames into a group of 11 teams ineligible for March Madness. Eight of those teams are ineligible as they reclassify from lower divisions:
- Bellarmine (eligible in 2025)
- Cal Baptist (2023)
- Dixie State (2025)
- Merrimack (2024)
- North Alabama (2023)
- St. Thomas (2027)
- Tarleton State (2025)
- UC San Diego (2025)
The 11th team: Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys were allowed to play in the 2021 tourney as the NCAA considered an appeal of penalties stemming from the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, including a one-year postseason ban and three-year probationary period. The appeal was rejected in early November, making Mike Boynton’s team ineligible for an at-large or auto-bid.
With 11 teams out, 348 of the 358 teams in Division-I men’s basketball are eligible for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. You can view blind bubble résumés, teams with most Quadrant 1 wins, and college basketball odds at BetMGM.
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