Just one day after learning the specific sanctions that the NCAA has handed down to his program, head coach Donnie Jones addressed the media with a familiar demeanor – one marked by optimism.
Penalties handed down to the university include a one-year postseason ban, an additional three years of probation – on top of the two UCF proposed – that will span through the 2017 season, and a $50,000 fine. But despite the sanctions, Jones is excited for the future.
"Obviously we were disappointed in some of the findings, but we're looking forward. We have a bright future here at UCF," Jones said.
The most time sensitive ruling of them all is the allowance for senior athletes to transfer for their last year without penalty.
Remaining positive and excited about what he has seen out of his team this summer, head coach Donnie Jones acknowledges the "tough decisions" his seniors, most notably Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan, will have to make.
"It's always a hard decision for seniors. The main focus for them right now is about each and every one of them,” Jones said. “I told them 'It's about you, I want the best for you and the right decision for you,' so I want to respect giving them a couple days here to really think about them.”
With the up-in-the-air status of Jordan and the inability to participate in tournament play, Jones' roster may look much different than originally predicted. With Clanton being considered an NBA draft prospect by many experts, he could choose to transfer in order to play at a higher level for longer without much hassle.
Jones still remains confident that his team will stick together regardless of the events that have transpired this week.
"I think they want to come here and get a degree and they're on track to graduate, that's the first thing,” Jones said. “Second of all, those guys all want to have an opportunity to play after [college] basketball's over. Whether that be NBA or whatever level that may be; they still have that opportunity to be in a program where they play for a coach, and who knows them better than me," Jones said.
"Last but not least, they have an opportunity to win a conference championship. You can still win a conference championship."