Arizona State said in a statement on Tuesday that it self-imposed a postseason ban less than a week before the start of the 2023 season to “help pave the way for program stability and greater clarity going forward.”

In a statement outlining the timing of the decision, which was made known to the players on Sunday morning before practice, Arizona State cited the NCAA’s recent ruling on Tennessee (which came down in July) and the deadline for undergraduate student-athletes to enter the transfer portal. Here’s the full statement:

Regarding ASU’s self-imposed bowl ban, please note the following:

The deadline for ASU undergraduate student athletes to enter the transfer portal was in April 2023.

The NCAA case involving the University of Tennessee, which was particularly relevant to ASU’s case, was pending until the Committee on Infractions announced its decision on July 14, 2023.

In the University of Tennessee case the NCAA Committee on Infractions imposed “an enhanced financial penalty” of $8 million in lieu of a postseason competition ban.  It also required enhanced recruiting penalties, e.g., a 120-day reduction of evaluation days (28 fall days and 92 spring days), a 40-week reduction of unofficial visits, a loss of 28 scholarships, and a 28-week “reduction of communications” with recruits, i.e., no communications.

ASU believes that if recruiting penalties of the type set out in the Tennessee case were applied to ASU, such penalties would seriously impair Coach Dillingham’s ability to build ASU’s football program.

ASU self-imposed a postseason ban to help pave the way for program stability and greater clarity going forward.

Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson informed first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham bright and early Sunday morning that ASU had self-imposed a bowl ban for the 2023 season for the alleged recruiting violations that occurred under former coach Herm Edwards.

Those violations are alleged to have occurred during the recruiting dead period brought on by COVID in 2020. The NCAA opened its investigation into ASU in 2021. Edwards remained he coach at ASU through the first three games of the 2022 season, before he was fired at paid a $4.4 million buyout.

Many believe ASU could have fired Edwards for cause earlier. ASU also likely could have imposed sanctions prior to the 2022 season.

It’s also worth noting that in the Tennessee case ASU cites as justification for its actions, the NCAA Committee on Infractions made clear that it no longer wishes to “punish programs or student-athletes not involved nor implicated in the infractions.”

Dillingham called his team together for a meeting shortly after 6:30 a.m. local time Sunday morning. Anderson, according to SunDevilSource’s Chris Karpman, didn’t take any questions from the team when he shared the news.

A roster rebuilt through the transfer portal was left devastated by the decision. Practice Sunday morning was rough, though Dillingham told reporters later it would be “absolutely delusional” to expect anything otherwise.

The Sun Devils begin the new season on Thursday against Southern Utah.

Senior leadership on the team has said there is still plenty for the group to play for this season. Dillingham has also said the decision changes nothing about the way he’ll approach the year. But there is no doubt the timing of the decision hit the group hard.