The University of Maine’s men’s basketball team may have to forfeit a game that has not been played yet because of an NCAA rule that limits the number of games a Division I program can play against non-Division I teams.
The NCAA allows Division I teams to play only four games against non-Division I competition, including exhibition games. The Black Bears (3-11) have already played three such games this season. Maine played exhibition games against Canadian universities McGill and Laval and a regular-season game against Fisher College, an NAIA school from Boston.
A game against UMaine-Presque Isle was postponed because of snow.
The problem arises with two scheduled games against the UMass-Lowell, an America East newcomer.
Maine has 14 games remaining, all in the conference. Because UMass-Lowell is making the transition from Division II to Division I, the River Hawks do not count this season as a Division I opponent. The River Hawks will have Division I status beginning in the 2014-15 season.
“The conference is looking into the status of UMass-Lowell as a Division I opponent on your schedule,” said Maine’s interim athletic director, Seth Woodcock.
“As they transition into a full Division I opponent, there was some miscommunication, a misinterpretation on if they’re a Division I program or not.”
Unless the NCAA issues a waiver, Maine would only be able to play one of its two games against UMass-Lowell and would have to forfeit the other one.
At least one other America East team, Vermont, faces a similar problem. The Catamounts have already played five non-DI games, including one against UMass-Lowell.
The UMaine women’s basketball team has played only two games against non-Division I opponents, the University of New Brunswick and Division III Southern Maine. The remaining two games against the River Hawks will give the women four non-Division I games this season.