MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The postseason ban on the University of Hawaii at Manoa's men basketball team has been lifted, according to the NCAA.
In its news release, the NCAA said, "the university's probation period was also reduced from three years to two, and the men's basketball scholarship penalty was changed from two scholarship reductions to one over each of the two years."
In its appeal, UH argued that the penalties should have been imposed under the former infractions structure because the violations began before Oct. 30, 2012, when the new infractions structure was adopted.
"We are glad to be able to finally put this episode behind us," UH Athletics Director David Matlin said in a statement posted on the department's website. "We have been fully committed to uncovering and correcting any wrong-doing from the very first day we self-reported our initial concern. And throughout this entire investigation we have cooperated fully, including openly acknowledging the mistakes that were made."
In 2015, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found violations of associations rules regarding impermissible coaching activities, coaching limitations, extra benefits and participation of ineligible student athletes.
In California for the last two games of the regular season, UH head coach Eran Ganot told the Rainbow Warriors at the airport this morning.
"It was a special moment to be able to tell our guys that they had been rewarded for their perseverance," Ganot said. "There was faith that it would work in our favor, and if it didn't we would keep plugging along anyways. The fact that it did, and to go through it the way we have, I'm especially proud that we were able to hang in there together and stay united that long."
The penalties rocked the program after its best season in history, losing every starter from the conference championship team. Noah Allen and Gibson Johnson transferred to UH knowing the penalties in place. Today they were rewarded.
"It means everything," Allen said. "That's why we all play college basketball to play in March, so to have that opportunity is a blessing for all of us."
"When he let us know, it was a lot of high fives, hugs and smiles," said Johnson. "The atmosphere in a tournament where it's win or go home, I think that's a competitors dream. That's what we look forward to and that's why we play the game, so we're all really excited."
Hawaii will be either the fourth or fifth seed in the tournament depending on the outcome of Saturday nights finale at Long Beach State. The 'Bows will likely face the 49ers again Thursday in the first round of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim.