Jonathan Heisler/Staff Photographer Binghamton University?s men?s basketball head coach Mark Macon addresses the media following Monday?s exhibition game against Mansfield. Macon addressed the dismissal of senior Kyrie Sutton, who was released from the team on Friday.

Kyrie Sutton, the only senior on the Binghamton University men’s basketball team — and only remaining player from the 2009 America East championship team — has been dismissed from the team.

Head coach Mark Macon said that the dismissal was his decision. He would not, however, comment on the specific rationale behind Sutton’s dismissal.

Macon repeatedly referred to the dismissal as a “coach’s decision” throughout a post-game press conference following Monday’s exhibition game against Mansfield University.

“We were heading in different directions,” Macon said. “And we have to move forward with our team and where we’re going to be this upcoming season.”

Sutton was seated in the student section during the first half of the exhibition game, in which Binghamton topped the Division II Mountaineers 79-64. He chose not to respond to questions from Pipe Dream reporters regarding his dismissal.

Macon said he was unaware of Sutton’s presence at Monday’s game, and would not comment on any specific restrictions the senior would be required to adhere to as a result of his removal from the team.

The 6-foot-9-inch center from Brooklyn, Sutton averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds last season in his 29 appearances and 11 starts for the Bearcats.

Athletic director Jim Norris, who will be succeeded by Patrick Elliot on Nov. 14, said during halftime that he supports Macon’s choice.

“My initial reaction would be [that] I support Mark’s decision 100 percent,” Norris said. “Mark made the decision that [Sutton] wasn’t heading in the same direction as the rest of the team, and it was time for both parties to head [in separate directions]. I support all of our coaches when they make these kinds of decisions.”

The athletic director said that Sutton’s removal from the team does not affect his academic standing.

“He’s not out of school so he can stay here and graduate,” Norris said. “If he wants, he can transfer and go to Division II and play.”

The dismissal came less than a week after the announcement that the men’s basketball program posted a perfect Academic Progress Rating (APR) score of 1,000. The score allowed the program to regain the two scholarships it lost following the release of six players in 2009.

After capturing its first America East title in 2009, the arrest of standout Emanuel “Tiki” Mayben led to a collapse of the men’s basketball program and ultimate dismissal of five additional players. After both an NCAA and in-house investigation, Binghamton ultimately decided to self-impose a two-scholarship reduction after requesting a waiver of approval from the America East.

The APR score, which indicates a program’s academic integrity, places heavy emphasis on athlete graduation. But with Sutton still enrolled in classes, according to Norris, the score should not be affected by the dismissal.

“He’s eligible right now, so we’re not going to lose that point,” he said. “I’m fairly certain he’ll graduate somewhere, and that point will be intact. I’m not worried about APR.”

Sophomore guard Robert Mansell, who joined Binghamton last season as Macon’s first official recruit, acknowledged the impact of the loss of Sutton.

“It’s definitely a huge loss for us,” Mansell said in a brief interview following his press conference remarks. “Kyrie is a great friend and a great basketball player, but we have to move on and hopefully win without him.”

Mansell told Pipe Dream he was unaware of the reason behind Macon’s decision, adding only that the team needed to move past Sutton’s dismissal.

“We’re definitely young with no seniors, and it’s going to be tough without him,” he said. “But we’ve got to move on.”

Without Sutton, the Bearcats will join University at Albany as the only America East teams to enter regular season play with no seniors on the roster.