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NCAA uses common sense, adjusts rule for Siena freshmen

Turns out the NCAA is capable of common sense decisions.

Siena freshman Lionel Gomis – a native of Senegal who took two years off from school when he was 14 because of various family issues – ran afoul of a new NCAA rule that requires players to finish their high school classes in a five-year window. He was told he’d have to sit out this year, play just one season then his career would be over.

Or not. The NCAA’s legislative staff ruled Tuesday that Gomis will have to sit out the 2011-12 season, but he’ll retain three years of eligibility. His classmate, Imoh Silas, will get the same deal.

“We are happy for Lionel that the NCAA review staff took into consideration the additional documentation that we provided about his hardship and reinstated two years of eligibility,” Siena athletic director John D’Argenio said in a statement. “These cases are difficult to judge, and there can be extenuating circumstances. That’s why there are multiple steps to the process. We will continue to use all NCAA legislative relief options available to us in pursuing the fourth year of eligibility for both players.”

I’m with Rob Dauster on this one – give the NCAA a hand for weighing the situation, then adjusting despite what the rule says. Take a bow.

Related story:

Bill Self on NCAA, APR ‘hypocrisy’ and big-time sports

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