Seton Hall Basketball: Kevin Johnson Ruled Ineligible for Upcoming Season

Kevin Johnson will not suit up with the Pirates this season. Whether Johnson will be allowed to practice/train with the team will soon be under appeal. (Photo: Michael Yanow)

Update from Jerry Carino 7:10PM:

Clarification on Kevin Johnson: SHU will file a partial appeal to allow him to practice. They have until Nov. 5 to appeal (a 1-month window).  SHU has not filed the appeal yet because compliance is getting all its ducks in a row.  There are special circumstances in Johnson's case that the school believes could help them win the appeal.

Original story:  Well, we all saw this one coming. Adam Zagoria reporting that an NCAA Source told SNY that Johnson was ruled ineligible on October 5th. The report says that Johnson can still attend school and receive financial aid, and will also have 4 years of eligibility remaining.

What this means: Well, it means the Pirates will be thin up front once again. It means that the three bigs that SHU has (4 counting Brandon Mobley who Willard expects to return around December 1st) MUST stay out of foul trouble. That could prove difficult down the road, but for the non-conference schedule, it won't matter as much. It will be something to monitor, though, as how well the post players are able to avoid the foul trouble in the non-conference play will give a glimpse into how they will do in Big East play.

This situation (and the ruling) is exactly like the NCAA's ruling on Melvyn Oliver a couple seasons ago. Let's hope that KJ can lay off the Nathan's in the cafeteria, unlike Oliver, during this coming year.

Comments added by @SOrangeJuice, Friday 6:54PM:

This afternoon Adam Zagoria let the cat out of the bag, exposing what was seemingly the best known secret at Seton Hall since last pre-season's cafeteria fight and subsequent scrimmage suspensions.  Alright, so this may not be the biggest kept secret since the Okoloji/Lawrence fight, but now I can finally address the Kevin Johnson ruling. 

Publicly, all we've heard regarding Johnson's eligibility status was, "it's still under review." Well, according to Chris Radford, the NCAA spokesmen that spoke to Adam Zagoria, that doesn't appear to be the case.  On Seton Hall message boards, word of Johnson's ineligibility began to leak as far back as two weeks ago, yet the University kept a closed lid on the information.  Today we found out that the NCAA ruled Kevin Johnson ineligible on October 5th, yet an official statement was never released regarding the ruling.  Why not?

Whether the NCAA initial's ruling was under appeal by Seton Hall or not, why wouldn't the University choose to release that information?  As usually the case, when players are ruled academically ineligible, the respective athletic department puts out a press release with the pertinent information.  For instance, St. John's recently had three ruled ineligible and that afternoon they released a statement.  What did Seton Hall hope to gain by withholding the information? 

Next, was a partial appeal filed by Seton Hall to get a practice waiver for Kevin Johnson, or wasn't it?  In Zagoria's story, he cites sources that state an appeal was filed on behalf of Johnson, yet the NCAA representative denies the claim saying, "No appeal has been submitted to date."  Is it possible Zagoria received word from Radford soon after the initial ruling and he's been sitting on the information for almost four weeks?  Sure, but c'mon, that's extremely unlikely, plus it's something Adam would have surely noted in his story.  

Let's put this latest mystery in perspective.  Kevin Johnson was ruled ineligible for the coming season by the NCAA on October 5th.  He will stay on scholarship at Seton Hall and will have four years of eligibility beginning next season.  To date, the University still hasn't released an official statement, with Willard still refusing to give comment to Zagoria this evening.  As of right now, the player will not be allowed to practice with the team, but as Jerry Carino tweeted this evening, the belief is the school has applied for a partial waiver that would allow practice and/or workouts assisted by the team trainer.  However, NCAA representative Chris Radford has denied that such an appeal has been submitted.  Got all that? Good.  I will have more on the Kevin Johnson situation in tomorrow's recruiting roundup so make sure to check back when you realize you're snowed in on a Saturday afternoon.  In October.

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