The clock is running down for Stony Brook, at least for its winter teams.
The America East banned the university from its postseason conference championships — and the possibility of automatic bids to the NCAAs — for the rest of the school year after SBU stated in January that it was leaving for the Colonial Athletic Association on July 1. The conference announced Feb. 2 that it stood by its decision after the university requested a reconsideration.
But Stony Brook president Maurie McInnis wants a reconsideration of the reconsideration. She sent a letter Friday to America East commissioner Brad Walker to ask for a reversal.
McInnis called the decision by America East’s Board of Presidents "unfair, unjust, and inequitable, but not irreversible." She pointed to the Horizon League recently reversing its disqualification of the Missouri Valley-bound University of Illinois Chicago.
"To my knowledge, we have not had a response from her letter, but this is far from a dead issue," athletic director Shawn Heilbron told Newsday on Monday. "We will continue to advocate for our student-athletes as long as we possibly can."
America East, however, has the view that it is indeed a dead issue.
"The Board of Presidents has already considered and reconsidered this matter and has rendered its final decision," senior associate commissioner Sean Tainsh wrote in an email to Newsday.
A couple of SBU student-athletes also wrote a plea to the Board of Presidents that was rejected.
An attempt at a legal remedy isn’t in play, according to Heilbron.
"We have explored every possible option with certain strategies," Heilbron said. "The ability to have it resolved in a timely manner is not possible. So we’ve resorted to those actions which we think we will allow us to get a resolution quickly, which is the ultimate objective."
The Stony Brook women’s basketball team would’ve been a prime candidate for an automatic bid. The at-large odds are much longer for teams in the America East. The Seawolves are 23-3 overall and lead the America East at 14-2.
The women’s conference tournament tips off March 5. The Stony Brook men (16-12, 8-7) would begin the following day.
"The whole year, we've been preaching championship …" guard Anthony Roberts said earlier this month. "Just for it to be taken away, it messed a lot of us up.
The decision stemmed from a 2005 America East bylaw for departing members. In a Feb. 2 statement, the conference wrote that Stony Brook (under different leadership) supported it at the time, and that it was applied in 2012-13 to Patriot League-bound Boston University.
Hartford is also about to leave. It’s dropping to D-III. The bylaw wasn’t applied.
"Our student-athletes are asking why Hartford was given an opportunity to compete and we weren’t," Heilbron said.
Or as McInnis put it in her letter:
"The punishment of our student-athletes is predicated on an outdated, inconsistently applied and controversial America East bylaw triggered by what should have been a routine conference realignment discussion."