Fighting Irish Lose Best Player for 4 Games, NCAA Technicality

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Fighting Irish forward Tim Abromaitis, the player expected to replace Ben Hansbrough as the team’s leader, top scorer, and overall best talent, will miss the first four games of the college basketball regular season.

Why? A misunderstanding in the technicality of an NCAA rule dating back to the 2008-09 season.

During his sophomore year (’08-’09), Abromaitis played in Notre Dame’s first two exhibition games against Briar Cliff (Oct. 31) and Stonehill (Nov. 9) and then was withheld from competition for the remainder of the season in order to preserve an extra year of eligibility.

Under NCAA rules, freshman student-athletes are allowed to participate in preseason exhibition contests and still preserve the entire year of eligibility. The Bylaw, however, does not provide the same exception for returning student-athletes in their sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Therefore, Abromaitis technically used a season of eligibility when he participated in those two preseason exhibition contests during that year.

Abromaitis’ fifth year of eligibility has been preserved for this season due to an NCAA waiver that took into consideration the Notre Dame men’s basketball coaching staff’s misunderstanding of the rule and on the condition that he be withheld from the first four regular-season games.

Abro will play in both of the Irish exhibition contests against St. Xavier (Nov. 1) and Stonehill (Nov.7), but then will be required to sit out games against Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 12), Detroit (Nov. 14), Sam Houston State (Nov. 16) and Delaware State (Nov. 18). His first game back will be against Missouri when the Irish face the Tigers at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., in the semifinals of the CBE Classic on Monday, Nov. 21.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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