May 1, 2012, 6:06 PM EDT
Notre Dame knew it was a longshot, but that doesn’t mean that the news that forward Tim Abromaitis was denied a sixth-year of eligibility doesn’t hurt.
There are few players in the country that are better students than Abro. He completed his undergraduate degree in three years. He finished a Master’s degree by the end of his fourth season and took graduate-level courses for fun during his fifth-season in South Bend. The Fighting Irish had hoped that his sterling reputation in class would help him get back onto the Joyce Center’s court.
But the problem that arose is the NCAA has already granted Abro leniency.
Abro redshirted what would have been his sophomore season at Notre Dame, but that decision wasn’t made until after he had participated in two exhibition games. Only freshmen are allowed to play in an exhibition game and redshirt that season, something that the Notre Dame coaching staff was not aware of, which means that, in the NCAA’s eyes, Abro hadn’t actually sat out as a sophomore. In other words, his eligibility was technically all used up prior to the 2011-2012 season.
The NCAA gave him a break, however, and suspended the 6-foot-8 sharpshooter for four games to start the year. It was just his second game back that he tore his ACL and ended his season.
Abro is the posterboy for the NCAA’s “student-athlete” ideal. Of the five years that he spent in college, one resulted in playing in two exhibition games and another saw him take part in two total games. Not granting him a sixth-year doesn’t make any sense.
Notre Dame is still waiting to get word on Scott Martin. Martin redshirted a year after transferring into Notre Dame from Purdue before tearing his ACL and missing the following season.
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