The story of guard Bubu Palo at Iowa State is a long-winding one, with Palo joining the program as a walk-on and eventually doing enough to earn a scholarship. But Palo played in just 17 games last season due to a suspension that came as a result of his being charged with second-degree sexual assault in September 2012. The charges would be dropped, resulting in his rejoining the team in January and being allowed to play.
Given the amount of backcourt production lost from last season’s NCAA tournament team, there was a chance that Palo could earn more playing time during his senior season. Unfortunately for Palo the school dismissed him from the program in September 2013, and when his appeal of the decision was denied by the Iowa Board of Regents it seemed as if Palo would have no chance of rejoining the team.
However Palo took the case to court, and on Thursday a Webster County judge issued a temporary stay on the ruling banning Palo from the program. What does that mean? Palo can rejoin the basketball program, but ultimately the decision of whether or not he plays is up to Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. According to Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune Hoiberg offered no comment on the situation other than to say that Palo won’t accompany the team on its trip to Texas.
Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard issued a brief statement on the matter, expressing his disappointment with the ruling.
“We are disappointed to learn of the district court judge’s decision to reinstate Bubu Palo to our basketball team,” Pollard said. “We believe the university should have the sole right and responsibility to determine any student’s participation in extracurricular activities at Iowa State University.”
So what’s next for the 14-2 Cyclones, who are coming off of a home loss to No. 18 Kansas and are faced with a difficult game at Texas on Saturday? At this point the team hasn’t spent much time focusing on Palo’s situation, although senior forward Melvin Ejim did say in the Ames Tribune article that “we’re excited to have Bubu back.”
Based upon Pollard’s statement the administration doesn’t seem as enthused, which will make for an interesting environment when Palo joins the team for practice on Monday.