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Who's Eligible Here? Who's in Charge Here?

If fifth-year senior point guard Ray Taylor was found to be ineligible for this season -- he didn't play in Thursday's win over Bethune-Cookman, FIU's sixth in a row, after eligibility questions arose -- FIU might have to forfeit the four wins in which Taylor played.

Taylor declared for the 2012 NBA Draft in March 2012. He withdrew his name after the April 10, 2012 deadline for doing so and transferred to FIU later. Thus, the question.

From the 2011-12 NCAA Manual:

"In men’s basketball, an enrolled student-athlete may enter a professional league’s draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided:
(a) The student-athlete requests that his name be removed from the draft list and declares his intent
to resume intercollegiate participation not later than the end of the day before the first day of the
spring National Letter of Intent signing period for the applicable year. (April 10 in 2012 -- DJN)
(b) The student-athlete’s declaration of intent is submitted in writing to the institution’s director of
athletics; and
(c) The student-athlete is not drafted."

There's a Compliance Department that doesn't fall under athletics, but is listed among the athletic department's staff. The NCAA puts the responsibility of Compliance on a much bigger back. From this year's manual:

"The president or chancellor is responsible for approving the procedures for certifying the eligibility of an institution’s student-athletes under NCAA legislation. The president or chancellor may designate an individual on the institution’s staff to administer proper certification of eligibility. Certification of eligibility must occur prior to allowing a student-athlete to represent the institution in intercollegiate competition (see Bylaw 14.01.1). A violation of this bylaw in which the institution fails to certify a student-athlete’s eligibility prior to allowing him or her to represent the institution in intercollegiate competition shall be considered an institutional violation per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such a violation shall not affect the student-athlete’s eligibility, provided all the necessary information to certify the student-athlete’s eligibility was available to the institution and the student-athlete otherwise would have been eligible for competition."

A statement from FIU media relations -- not athletic department media relations -- e-mailed to me at 12:15 Friday said:

“Late Thursday afternoon, the University received information related to men's basketball student-athlete Raymond Taylor's eligibility status.  As a result of the information presented, the University has elected to withhold Ray from intercollegiate competition until the impact, if any, this information has on his eligibility status can be determined.  A review is being conducted and will conclude as quickly as possible.  Given that the issue involves student-athlete eligibility, there is no further information that we can provide at this time."

I've asked and am waiting to hear about women's basketball 6-3 center Marita Davydova, the second most important player on the team coming into the season, who hasn't played yet, wasn't dressed at the home opener, was left behind on the last road trip and looks perfectly healthy. Translation: last year's Third Team All-Sun Belt center is probably ineligible, too, which would be a huge hit to the women's team.

Former Compliance director Val Sheley has been fired in the last month, although not over these two issues. The assistant director in charge of APR? To be determined.

So, there's no director of the Student-Athlete Academic Center since Dr. Phil Moses took a job in North Carolina months ago. He made $105,000 a year. And two major positions in Compliance sit open. Sheley made $102,000 a year. Neither of these fall directly under the athletic department, so that's not the department saving money. It is, however, the department looking bad.

Not a good look for a school whose two highest profile athletic programs, football and men's basketball, demonstrate serious academic and compliance problems.




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