Rainbow Warriors will play on

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s men’s basketball team will be able to participate in postseason play following an announcement by the NCAA on Friday.

The NCAA also announced that UH’s probationary period has been reduced from three years to two and will now end in December 2017. The scholarship penalty was also reduced from two to one for each of the two years. The decision comes after UH appealed the NCAA December 2015 ruling that instituted the penalties.

An investigation found former head coach Gib Arnold violated ethical conduct rules and provided false or misleading information to investigators, The Associated Press reported.

“We are glad to be able to finally put this episode behind us,” said UH Athletics Director David Matlin. “We have been fully committed to uncovering and correcting any wrong-doing from the very first day we self-reported our initial concern. And throughout this entire investigation we have cooperated fully, including openly acknowledging the mistakes that were made.”

Despite the postseason uncertainty throughout the entire season and with no returning starters from last year’s team that made it the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Rainbow Warriors are 14-14 overall with a chance at securing a winning regular-season record when they take on Long Beach State on Saturday.

“We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes who have represented our university and the entire state of Hawaii with poise, pride and a winning effort,” said UH Manoa Interim Chancellor David Lassner. “Coach [Eran] Ganot and his staff have done an amazing job all season by focusing on what they could control and coaxing extraordinary performances from the team.”

Matlin agreed.

“There were no excuses as the coaches and players demonstrated an incredible work ethic and a never-give-up attitude,” Matlin said. “The leadership has been first rate, and our men’s basketball program has already exceeded every expectation so far this season.”

“Obviously we’re pleased with today’s announcement,” Ganot said. “I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it again – I’m extremely proud of how our administration, staff, and players have dealt with this situation. I’m fired up for our guys and can’t wait to get on the court for Saturday’s game and for the opportunity to defend our Big West Tournament title next week.”

Lassner added: “We wish them all the best in their well-deserved post-season.”

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