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Eric McKnight’s waiver to play at Tennessee denied by the SEC

Jul 15, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

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Tennessee’s new head coach Donnie Tyndall was looking for graduate transfer Eric McKnight to combat the losses of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon on the Volunteer’s frontline. However, Tennessee received unfortunate news on Tuesday, as McKnight’s waiver to play this season was denied by the SEC.

McKnight played three seasons at Florida Gulf Coast, a member of 2013′s Sweet 16 team. He decided to transfer to Tennessee back on May 12. The NCAA granted McKnight a waiver, but according to the Times Free-Press, the SEC denied his initial waiver and his appeal. In June, the SEC lifted the ban on graduate transfers, but those student-athletes still had to meet a certain criteria such as remaining in good academic standing at their previous school, earning all APR points, and having no disciplinary infractions.

He was suspended for six games in October due to a violation of team or school policy.

“We have been informed that Eric McKnight has been denied the graduate transfer waiver by the SEC,” Tyndall said in a statement. “We pursued this issue through the proper protocol, and I respect the process. Although we are disappointed that Eric will not be joining our program, we are focused on moving forward.”

Tyndall got to work quickly when he was hired to replace Cuonzo Martin. He landed JuCo recruits Devon Baulkman and Kevin Punters, as well as graduate transfer Ian Chiles and four-star guard Detrick Mostella. The Vols front court, which will be without Rawane Ndiaye this season, will expect production from newcomers Willie Carmichael, Jabari McGhee and Tariq Owens.

The 6-foot-9 McKnight averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Eagles during the 2013-2014 season.