NCAA makes wrong decision by denying Keith Carter extra year of eligibility at Valparaiso

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Over the last few seasons, Valparaiso has been one of the better mid-major programs in the country. But the Crusaders received some bad news on Friday as a source confirmed to NBCSports.com that point guard Keith Carter was denied an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. The news was first reported by Paul Oren of The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The 6-foot-1 Carter was a key piece for Valpo the past few seasons as he averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game last season for a team that made a deep run in the NIT following a NCAA tournament bid the season before.

The issue with Carter’s extra year of eligibility revolves around his first year of basketball at Saint Louis.

Carter enrolled at Saint Louis for the 2012-13 season, which was the same season in which head coach Rick Majerus passed away and the team was taken over by Jim Crews. Dealing with a foot injury, Carter only played in 39 minutes during that season over a three-game period before deciding to transfer to find a fresh start.

Carter eventually decided on Valparaiso and sat out the second semester of the 2012-13 season and first semester of the 2013-14 season before playing out the rest of that season. The past two seasons, Carter has played the full year, but he only played in 83 games during the course of his college career as he was hoping to re-gain that lost freshman season.

But the NCAA denied that extra year and Carter’s college career is over.

The decision is a puzzling one from the NCAA, as they essentially held it against a kid for getting hurt and looking for a new school after a tragic situation. As Oren also noted, Carter earned his degree from Valparaiso after four years of school, and the NCAA usually looks at that as a positive sign for another year of eligibility.

It’s hard to understand the NCAA’s logic behind this decision, but I believe they got this one wrong. Carter missed a season for reasons outside of his control and was penalized for no legitimate reason.

Without Carter, the Crusaders will likely play Max Joseph and Lexus Williams at point guard as they try to enjoy one more season of leading conference Player of the Year candidate Alec Peters before he exhausts his eligibility. First-year head coach Matt Lottich and Carter got dealt an unfair ruling and Valpo will have to adjust in order to compete for the Horizon League crown next season.