Shaqquan Aaron’s Eligibility Provides Cards With Another Piece

Posted by Brett Thompson on December 10th, 2014

Louisville freshman Shaqquan Aaron has received his verdict from the NCAA on his impermissible benefits case: A nine-game suspension, seven of which have already been served, meaning that he will be eligible to play starting on December 20 against UNC-Wilmington. The Cardinal freshman’s case stemmed from an NCAA inquiry about a tuition payment made during Aaron’s freshman year of high school, but the case dragged on because of disagreements between the NCAA and Aaron’s family. The suspension is punishment for extra benefits pertaining to housing; in addition to this, Aaron’s family will have to repay a fee, and Aaron will serve community service. ESPN ranked Aaron as the 33rd best freshman in the country, the highest ranked newcomer on Rick Pitino’s squad this season. He has been described as an excellent shooting small forward in scouting reports, with agility and athleticism to boot. One pundit compared him to North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, who cracked the Tar Heels’ starting rotation at the beginning of the season and is producing (116.0 ORtg). One facet of Aaron’s game that has been highly touted is his ability to create opportunities off the dribble, which should provide relief to a Louisville offense that, while putting up a strong but not elite adjusted offensive efficiency of 108.9, has struggled to put together consistent offensive success (see wins against Cleveland and Ohio State).

Louisville's Move To The ACC? Should Be Fun For Pitino & Co., Less So For The American Athletic Conference. (Getty)

Rick Pitino has no shortage of talent on his team; while it may take time, Shaqquan Aaron will only make the Cardinals better. (Getty)

This situation draws some parallels to the one that plagued North Carolina’s Leslie McDonald last year. McDonald sat out the Tar Heels’ first nine games due to an eligibility issue stemming from the use of his likeness on a mouthpiece website. The NCAA declared that McDonald had received “numerous impermissible extra benefits,” including use of luxury cars, sleeping on a friend’s couch during the North Carolina Pro-Am, and payment of parking tickets. The investigation cleared McDonald in time for a key December 18 game against Texas, when he made his season debut. His absence from the lineup yielded mixed results for North Carolina, including wins over Michigan State, Louisville, and Kentucky, but perplexing losses to Belmont at home and UAB on the road. The Cardinals have fared much better without Aaron on the floor, posting an 8-0 record to start the season.

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Michael Cobbins’ Three-Game Suspension Illustrates Power of Redshirt Rule

Posted by Chris Stone on November 10th, 2014

Oklahoma State redshirt senior Michael Cobbins will miss the Cowboys’ opening three games of the regular season as penance for playing in two non-conference regular season games during his true freshman season. Cobbins played in a combined five minutes against Houston Baptist and Nicholls State during the 2010-11 season, prior to sitting out the remainder of the year as a medical redshirt. Unfortunately for Cobbins, NCAA rules require that a player must sit out two competitions for each game in which he appeared during his redshirt season (excluding scrimmages and exhibition games for freshmen). After Wisconsin’s Duje Dukan was able to count a closed scrimmage and an exhibition game toward his required total in a similar situation, Oklahoma State asked the NCAA to count its exhibition game against Missouri Western as one of the games Cobbins was required to miss. That request was granted late last week, and as a result, Cobbins sat out the Cowboys’ Saturday exhibition. Still, as a result of playing those 300 ticks of the clock some four years ago, the key frontcourt contributor will be unavailable for the Cowboys’ first three games of the 2014-15 campaign.

Cobbins missed the majority of the 2013-14 season with an Achilles injury. (Michael Wyke/Tulsa World)

Cobbins missed the majority of the 2013-14 season with an Achilles injury. (Michael Wyke/Tulsa World)

While the two-for-one rule seems somewhat arbitrary, Oklahoma State is lucky to have Cobbins available at all this season. According to NCAA rules, a single second of action in a regular season game is sufficient to cost a player a full year of eligibility. The requirement is aimed at preventing a coach from using a potential redshirted player in a substantial number of games by requiring the player to miss a substantially larger number of games in the future. This removes the incentive for a coach to burn a good portion of a player’s season of eligibility by effectively trying him out at the beginning of a season to see how he performs — the NCAA is forcing coaches to make redshirt decisions on players sooner than later.

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Morning Five: 01.12.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2011

  1. Rick Pitino confirmed in yesterday’s news conference that Louisville forward Jared Swopshire will miss the rest of this season with a groin injury.  The senior has missed the entire season already and would probably be eligible for a redshirt should he choose to pursue one.  Pitino said the problem is that he’s simply not getting any better and it appears that he will require surgery to repair this injury.  In some other injury news, Virginia confirmed that Mike Scott will miss the remainder of its season because he also needs surgery to repair his left ankle.  Scott played in ten games in November/December and was UVa’s top scorer and rebounder in those games.  The senior is right on the eligibility cutoff for a medical redshirt next season, so let’s cross our fingers that he doesn’t have to finish his collegiate career with a broken season.
  2. This report from Percy Allen, the Washington beat writer for the Seattle Times, has a few additional details about the allegation of sexual assault involving a Husky player over the weekend, but it does not name the player nor will the team hold anyone out of practice or games at this point in time.  The article notes that the players are off limits to the press at this time and gives additional details as to the alleged incident.  There are no winners in a situation like this, but if it turns out that the story is true, we certainly hope that justice is served.
  3. You’ve waited for it all year, and it’s back.  Luke Winn’s 2010-11 Style Guide.  From the Reeves Sleeve to Scotty Hopson’s “Fresh Prince” high fade to Marcus Jordan’s accessories, it’s all there.  One of our favorite columns of the year, by far.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts from Monday has quite a bit more meat from his interview with NCAA president Mark Emmert over the weekend.  Davis hinted at the primary weakness that the NCAA’s enforcement folks have in the public view right now, and Emmert seems to fail to understand the depth of the problem.  When asked about a seeming inconsistency in the organization’s recent decisions and punishments, Emmert’s response was that these cases (Cam Newton, Ohio State, Renardo Sidney, Josh Selby) were “very different cases with very different facts.”  Undoubtedly true.  We know that the NCAA isn’t a court of law and we don’t have an NCAA version of Lexis/WestLaw to research all the case law pertaining to each situation; but the NCAA needs to establish a core set of transparent jurisprudential guidelines beyond the enigmatic rulebook so that schools and players will have a reasonable basis to know what to expect.  As it stands now, every enforcement proceeding appears to be decided on a “case-by-case” basis, which ultimately means that the guidelines shift so much in the aggregate that nobody can figure out just where the bright lines are.  When Emmert refers to people being “shocked” by a decision on Enes Kanter’s ineligibility, he’s making the same mistake in that he’s looking at the individual facts of that case in a vacuum.  He’s not considering that other, similar cases were decided differently, and the justification needed to distinguish between all of these cases has become downright impossible to discern.  That is what is bothering most people… not the Kanter decision itself (only Kentucky fans care about that).
  5. Jeff Goodman hooks us up with his constantly-evolving midseason transfer list.  Ole Miss appears to be the big winner thus far with the addition of Jelan Kendrick next season; that is, assuming that he doesn’t try to fight everyone on the roster prior to becoming eligible next December.
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Morning Five: 12.08.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 8th, 2010

  1. In the wake of last night’s Jimmy V Classic where Kansas beat Memphis, two different national writers came up with dramatically different takes as to how KU will handle the addition of Rivals’ #1 recruit Josh Selby later this month.  Jason King believes that the conventional wisdom — that adding a star player to an already talented group — will make Kansas into a great team; while Jeff Goodman takes the contrary position that Selby may upset the fragile chemistry of a team that Bill Self has playing great already — especially guard Tyshawn Taylor, the player most likely to be impacted by Selby’s court time.  Regardless, everyone will be watching in ten days when USC visits Allen Fieldhouse for the ginormous debut of the player who could make or break Kansas’ season.
  2. Speaking of ineligible players, need an update on the Enes Kanter eligibility case (and we know you do)?  Matt Jones of KSR interviews The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy in this video clip that discusses the various possibilities surrounding the big Turk’s situation, especially as it relates to the argument that Auburn successfully made to get quarterback Cam Newton eligible.  There’s still not timetable on this situation, but news could come literally any day now.
  3. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress takes a look at the six freshmen who NBA scouts have been the most impressed with in the early going this season.  It should come as utterly no surprise that Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones have been popping the most eyeballs in the early going.  One notable name not on the list: none other than preseason AP All-American, Harrison Barnes.
  4. While on the subject of elite freshmen, Luke Winn writes about his concept of Freshmen Who Fit, basically asserting that part of the reason for frosh who succeed has as much to do with talent as it does to finding the right situation.  True in most aspects of life, it’s a poignant yet simple concept that still most people tend to overlook.  He suggests that Tennessee’s Tobias Harris is the best example of this, and adds four other names to the list.  Worth a read.
  5. Arizona is getting some early-season love from the hoopsnoscenti for its play so far this season, sitting at 7-1 with its only loss to Kansas and boasting one of the best power forwards in the nation, Derrick Williams.  In this video clip promoted through Pac-10 Digital, Sean Miller talks about what he expects from his team this season and how he’s going about  rebuilding a program in the desert.  Within a couple years, we believe that Arizona will once again be the dominant force in the Pac-10.
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Morning Five: 12.01.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2010

  1. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge ramped up last night, and as you’re probably aware by now, the Big Ten leads the Challenge 4-2 after a dominant evening where only Iowa lost on the road at Wake Forest.  Going into tonight’s five-game set, the ACC will be favored in three of the games, but if Wisconsin and Penn State can take care of business at home against NC State and Maryland, respectively, the Big Ten will win its second consecutive Challenge.  If either of those two drops the ball, the Big Ten’s next best shot for a road win will be Tom Crean’s Indiana team taking on a rebuilding Boston College, or Purdue going to Coleman Coliseum to take on Virginia Tech.  The one game we’re giving to the ACC right now is the Duke game against Michigan State in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Remember when MSU played UNC a couple of years ago at Ford Field in this event — that Spartan team still made the Final Four, if you recall, but Carolina ran Michigan State out of the building.  We expect Duke to do likewise tonight.
  2. Free Guy-Marc Michel?  We’d expect to see shirts like this popping up around Bloomington after the NCAA yesterday rejected Indiana’s appeal for the 7’0 freshman’s eligibility to play college basketball for the Hoosiers this season.  The Martinique native played in five games with a French club team that included professionals in 2007-08, but the more troubling issue according to the NCAA was his admission to a university in 2006 which created problems with their “five years to play four” rule.  Indiana is off to a 6-0 start but they haven’t played anyone of consequence yet, but it’s never bad to have a seven-footer lying around in case you need one.  That option is now off the table for Tom Crean’s team.
  3. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers’ ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent tonight will be Boston College.  Gary Parrish takes a look at how its new coach, Steve Donahue, is trying to balance the competing interests of teaching his players how he wants them to play the game and trying to win those games.  He used the early-season loss to Yale as an example of what not to do, and it paid off with a 2-1 record at the Old Spice Classic last weekend.
  4. One of the few remaining uncommitted top 25 players in the Class of 2011, DeAndre Daniels, has narrowed his list to four schools: Texas, Kansas, UCLA and Florida.  The 6’8 forward whom Rivals has rated as the #9 overall prospect in the class was once a Texas commitment, but he re-opened his recruitment last summer.  He’s originally from the Longhorn State so the smart money is still probably on Texas, but don’t count out Bill Self or Billy Donovan in this race (Daniels is playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida this season).
  5. Former Maryland star and current ESPN commentator Len Elmore, a Harvard Law graduate who never suppresses his informed opinions, believes that the NCAA should suspend Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl for two years as a consequence of his lying to investigators about his transgressions.  He said that the Tennessee’s salary docking of $1.5M and the SEC’s eight-game suspension of the coach were a “total cop-out.”  Our position on this isn’t quite as punitive as Elmore’s, but we also believe that the NCAA will come down hard on Pearl when they decide to hand out any sanctions.
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Renardo Sidney Academically Cleared; Hurdle Still Remains

Posted by zhayes9 on August 17th, 2009

One step towards Renardo Sidney joining Mississippi State in their quest for an SEC title was completed today with the McDonald’s All-American receiving academic clearance to enroll at the university and begin classes on the first day, Sidney’s attorney told’s Andy Katz earlier today.

One giant hurdle still remains until Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury can pencil in Sidney for their November 13 opener. The NCAA is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the Sidney family paying for two million dollar homes in the Los Angeles area during Sidney’s transfer to a high school there. The investigation caused both UCLA and USC to back off in their recruitment of Sidney for fear of eligibilty issues. Until the NCAA feels it has compiled strong enough reason to believe Sidney’s family paid for the homes legally, Sidney will not be cleared to play basketball.

Renardo Sidney/ESPN
Renardo Sidney/ESPN

Reports say Sidney and his family are currently on the move to Starkville, MS. If Stansbury does get Sidney eligible at some point this season, he’ll join guards Ravern Johnson, Barry Stewart and shot-blocking sensation Jarvis Varnado in the middle for a Bulldog team that will contend for the Top 25.

My best guess during this entire process remains that Sidney will eventually suit up for Mississippi State at some point during the 2009-10 campaign. The NCAA elongates these investigations tremendously, so pinning for Sidney to play for Stansbury and the Bulldogs during their season opener could be wishful thinking. To avoid an endless lawsuit from Jackson and the Sidney family, however, expect the NCAA to slap Sidney on the wrist with around a 9-10 game suspension and move on while he plays in the bulk of Mississippi State’s schedule.

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