Two months after learning that his initial appeal of the decision that cost him a season of eligibility was denied, Old Dominion guard Donte Hill’s final appeal has met the same fate as announced by the ODU athletic department.
That means Hill, who averaged 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season, has played his final game as a Monarch. The issue that cost Hill a season of eligibility was his playing in a closed scrimmage at Clemson just before deciding to transfer to ODU in 2010. Hill played eight minutes in that scrimmage, and they turned out to be a costly eight minutes at that.
“I am very disappointed by the NCAA’s decision to deny my appeal, as I was hopeful there would have been reconsideration for my case, I am very appreciative of the efforts on my behalf by Old Dominion,” said Hill in the release. “I enjoyed my time here and I will be a Monarch forever.”
Rules certainly have to be followed, but this ruling seems very harsh. In a climate of enforcement that has “successfully” managed to confuse the very adults asked to make sure their schools are compliant with NCAA rules, we’re to expect a student-athlete to automatically know that playing in a scrimmage could potentially cost him a full season of eligibility?
A similar situation involving former Montana State forward Mohamed Fall occurred last spring, when his playing in two junior college showcases counted as a full season due to the fact that he turned 21 before enrolling at the Big Sky school.
If the powers that be want to hold out an “offending” party for a few games as a trade-off for being allowed to play their senior seasons, then fine. Not exactly ideal, but at least a player like Hill or Fall would be able to finish their careers on the court.
But taking away a player’s entire season over eight minutes? As many pointed out back in June when the initial decision regarding Hill’s status was made, the NCAA has far bigger fish to fry. Or at least they should.
On the bright side, at least Hill leaves ODU with his degree.
“Obviously, this news is extremely disappointing to our staff and team and of course to Donte,” ODU head coach Jeff Jones said. “He had a short, but successful career at ODU and more importantly has his sociology degree from the university.
“Donte is a great representative of the ideals the NCAA encourages in its student athletes. We know Donte has a bright future ahead of him.”