Xavier transfer Dez Wells has been granted an eligibility waiver and can play right away at Maryland, the school announced Wednesday.
Wells, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for Xavier last season, was expelled from the school for violating the student code of conduct. The highly contentious decision was later called “fundamentally unfair” and “deeply flawed” by an Ohio prosecutor.
The highly publicized recruitment that followed his expulsion ultimately landed him at Maryland with head coach Mark Turgeon, who from the start pushed a request for a waiver that would allow Wells to play right away.
The granting of that waiver Wednesday by the NCAA sets a new precedent in the parameters that allow one to play immediately at a new institution, the merits of which will likely be debated in the days to come.
Wells now likely becomes a starter for a Maryland team that was picked to finish sixth in the ACC in this year’s conference coaches’ poll. The team loses leading scorer Terrell Stoglin from last season, but brings in a strong recruiting class that includes big man Shaquille Cleare and forward Jake Layman.
The Terrapins open their season Friday against Kentucky at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., a game for which Wells will be eligible.