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Seven Hounds will sit out opener

Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — Seven Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball players are suspended for Friday’s season-opener as punishment for participating in an unsanctioned spring league in 2010.

ENMU men’s basketball coach Andrew Helton said the school reported the violation to the NCAA, which handed down the punishment

“We didn’t know that they had played in a league,” Helton said. “As soon as we had learned that they had played in the league we let people know. One of the people who worked with the league in Clovis came and thanked us for letting them play.”

The players being disciplined include leading returning scorer Tyler Jefferson, returning lettermen Victor Reid, Jordan Romero, Gerald Brown and Alan Branch, plus freshmen Nick Bliss and Daniel Strong.

“It was a recreation game going on during a school night in a Tuesday night league,” Helton said. “Pretty much every other night of the week we had study hall or weightlifting. It just so happen that Tuesday night was the only night we didn’t have a whole lot going on. We always have that conversation before summer about what they can and can’t play in.”

Helton said the spring semester is longer (at ENMU) and he should have let them know around February or March about which leagues they could play in.

The Hounds host Northern New Mexico on Friday.

The players will return for next week’s trip to Colorado.