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Charles Carmouche’s fifth-year isn’t exactly the spirit of the rule

Jun 6, 2012, 5:40 PM EDT

Charles Carmouche

Charles Carmouche only played seven games last season, but he could have played many more.

He was suspended after Memphis got back from their trip to Maui, missing seven games in total before he finally saw the court again. Carmouche apparently got a massage during the trip and charged it to his hotel room. When he refused to pay for it, the massage became an NCAA violation. Thus, Carmouche was suspended.

After returning for three games, Carmouche once again was forced to the bench with a knee injury. It was classified as tendinitis and by mid-January, he was cleared to return to action. But head coach Josh Pastner let Carmouche decide when he wanted to come back. Carmouche didn’t, and instead opted to sit out and appeal the NCAA for a medical waiver.

And, surprisingly enough, he won.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carmouche was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA. He was rewarded despite the fact that he missed seven games as the result of a suspension stemming from an NCAA violation and the second half of the season due to a knee injury that wasn’t serious enough to keep him from being cleared to play.

Making matters all the more confusing is that Carmouche has now graduated — he spent his first two years at New Orleans and the last two with Memphis, where he was allowed to transfer without sitting out when the UNO program dropped their sports to Division III — meaning that, if he were to transfer, he would qualify for the graduate student waiver.

Think about it like this: Carmouche committed an NCAA violation that a) sent him to the bench for seven games early in the season, b) took him out of favor with Pastner and c) took him out of the Memphis rotation. Because of that mess, he decided to sit out the rest of the season, which resulted in the NCAA rewarding him with the ability to transfer anywhere in the country?

That’s not exactly the reason either of those rules were created.

I’m as strong of a proponent of giving NCAA athletes rights and taking away all of the connotations that come with being a “student-athlete”. Pay ‘em! Let ‘em transfer freely! Don’t sign an NLI! I’m with it.

But this? This just doesn’t feel right to me. Carmouche shouldn’t be rewarded for having a season ruined because he committed a violation. (For those that don’t know, you can only receive a medical redshirt if you play in fewer than 30% of your team’s games, which usually means the magic number is nine.) And in doing so, he’ll only give credence to the argument that advantages given to athletes will be abused.

Oh well.

Anyone on college basketball’s waiver wire looking to pick up a veteran guard?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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