As if a Xavier team that lacks depth needed any more bad news, the program received just that on Thursday afternoon.
6-8 junior forward Isaiah Philmore, who is entering his first season of eligibility at Xavier after playing two seasons at Towson, has been suspended for the first three games of the season due to what amounted to a paperwork oversight.
According to Xavier, Philmore did not complete a form that would have validated his amateur status before he played a single game at Towson.
The mistake wasn’t made until Xavier ran its checks once Philmore transferred, and even though this is a minor mistake by NCAA rules it results in Philmore missing 10% of the Musketeers’ games.
“It’s frustrating that three years after his initial enrollment, this penalty has to be served. But it wasn’t discovered until he got to Xavier, through the normal checking process,” athletic director Mike Bobinski said to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
As a sophomore at Towson, Philmore averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest, numbers that led the Tigers in 2010-11.
As a result of the suspension Chris Mack will likely field a team with just seven scholarship players in games against FDU, Butler and Robert Morris.
And while much of the focus will be on that meeting with Butler, Robert Morris is expected to be a contender in the NEC so that won’t be an easy task either.
There’s also the case of Chris Cantino, who has been cleared by the NCAA to practice but not play in games.
“As the NCAA is sort of reviewing the situation – it’s a step-by-step process – it’s not finalized in terms of what he’ll ultimately be allowed to do. But he has been cleared to practice. He’s on scholarship. And that’s about all I know at this point,” coach Chris Mack said Friday before the season-opening practice.
There’s never a set timetable when it comes to how the NCAA goes about dealing with such issues, but there’s no doubt that Xavier needs to receive good news on Cantino in a hurry.
Photo credit: Xavier Athletics