While the beginning of the season tends to be a time for optimism for most teams, for the Eastern Michigan Eagles things are starting on what I suppose you could consider a "bittersweet" note.
On the one hand, the NCAA's announcement of penalties for EMU's practice violations from the AnnMarie Gilbert era brings closure to a saga that's been going on for a few years now. On the other hand, it's a cloud that will continue to hang over the program for a few years.
Matt Sussman of SB Nation's MAC Conference blog Hustle Belt has broken down the NCAA's decision, highlighting what might be the biggest penalty.
3) A limitation to seven official recruiting visits for the 2012-13 academic year. (Eastern had limited itself to 10 official visits in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years - maximum allowed is 12. Eastern averaged seven visits annually during the period of 2008-09 through 2011-12.)
That's rather significant in terms of recruiting, and perhaps the biggest additional penalty handed down.
These penalties are certainly not debilitating, but as a program trying to overcome the graduation of dynamic guard Tavelyn James it's not a positive either.