The university released a statement Sunday, saying that the Southeastern Conference and NCAA have been notified.
“The athletics department and university administration, in conjunction with Coach Bruce Pearl, made the decision after careful deliberation and in light of the ongoing matter that surfaced in fall 2017 regarding former assistant coach Chuck Person,” the statement read.
“We regret the impact this decision has on our student-athletes, yet it was made in the best long-term interest of the program.”
Said Pearl: “This was a difficult decision but the right decision. I hate it for our current players. They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again. It’s a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us.”
Person pleaded guilty in March 2019 to bribery charges in connection with the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. He acknowledged accepting $91,500 in bribes in exchange for directing players toward a specific financial adviser.
Person was one of 10 people arrested in September 2017 when news of the FBI investigation became public. A former player at Auburn, he was an assistant coach from 2014-17 and was fired after his arrest.
Person avoided a prison term, sentenced to time served in July 2019.
Auburn was picked to finish 7th in the SEC this season after a 25-6 (12-6 SEC) campaign last year. The Tigers were tied for second in the SEC when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Auburn lost all five starters from last season’s team, including Isaac Okoro, who went No. 5 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last week’s draft.
–Field Level Media