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NCAA denies UConn's waiver for 2013 NCAA tournament

UConn's dream of back-to-back-to-back national championships took what appears to be a near fatal blow today when the NCAA announced that they have denied UConn's request for a waiver to appear in the 2013 postseason. Under current rules it is mathematically impossible for the Huskies to comply with NCAA Academic Progress Report guidelines in time to be eligible for the 2013 tournament. The rule change was made official in October, but the Huskies are unable to fit its retroactive requirements.

The next step for the Huskies is to appeal their waiver request to an NCAA sub-committee, though I can't think of a reason that that result would be any more favorable.

The Huskies might also be able to qualify for the tournament if the NCAA decides to calculate the APR guidelines using numbers from December 2012. That decision won't be made for at least a few weeks, and possibly a few months, so it's not something UConn can rely on.

This would be devastating news for any program, but it is especially crippling for UConn. It will almost certainly encourage any NBA prospects on UConn's roster who had even the slightest doubt about staying to leave for the pros. Recruiting will certainly be hurt as well. Most importantly, Jim Calhoun, who is currently out on medical leave, would have to coach well into his 70s to get the program back to a position of strength. Realistically if he wants to hand off his program in anything close to its usually strong state it would probably require him coaching through the 2014 or maybe even 2015, at which point he'll be 71 or 72.

Today's ruling wasn't a death penalty, but it was damn close.