The SECHC West Division champion Arkansas Razorbacks have withdrawn from the SECHC Tournament scheduled to be play February 24-26 in Huntsville, Ala. After earning the No. 1 seed in the West, Arkansas was removed from the final rankings and suspended from post season play by the ACHA.
Issues with the team’s registrar’s report and eligibility paperwork came to light prior to the vote to determine the final rankings. The main issue causing the team to be disqualified was the lateness in obtaining final grades for three players who took a school approved on-line class as part of their curriculum.
By not posting the grades by the 31-January ACHA deadline, it was impossible to confirm each player’s cumulative GPA. After being removed from Regionals and a serious opportunity of competing at nationals, the team took the high road and announced they will withdraw from the SECHC playoffs as well.
The team announced its decision via facebook.
“This is an extremely sad moment for Arkansas hockey, the SECHC and the ACHA” said SECHC commissioner Sarge Day. “I respect the decision of the team to withdraw from our playoffs and feel this will be a valuable life lesson to the outstanding student athletes and coaches at Arkansas.”
“I feel horrible for the hard working players because they are a class act with tremendous talent who are well coached and deserve better. I also feel bad for their outstanding fan base, parents and coaches.”
The University of Tennessee from the SECHC East division will replace Arkansas in the SECHC Tournament. Mississippi State, out of the West Division, was not eligible to take the spot vacated by Arkansas.
Alabama will move up to the No. 1 seed in the West, followed by Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee, respectively. The east final seeds remain unchanged, as Florida holds the No. 1 seed followed by Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina, respectively.