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Roscoe Smith ruling could have a major impact on two programs

NCAA Basketball Tournament -  UCONN v Iowa St

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15: Roscoe Smith #22 of the Connecticut Huskies looks to pass in the seocnd half against Melvin Ejim #3 of the Iowa State Cyclones during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Last week it became official that former UConn forward Roscoe Smith would transfer to UNLV to complete his final two years of eligibility.

But apparently Smith is using the fact that the Huskies were banned from postseason play in 2013 (poor APR rate) as the basis for his appeal for an eligibility waiver.

According to Andy Katz of UConn is keeping a watchful eye on the situation, with their concern being that a ruling in Smith’s favor could open up the possibility of a mass exodus out of Storrs.

UConn officials are watching what the NCAA does with Smith’s case closely, and, according to a source, aren’t happy that it’s even being broached. A source said that giving Smith a waiver would open the floodgates to allow other players to leave immediately. There have been no requests from any other players.

Alex Oriakhi, who left UConn for Missouri, will get to play immediately since he had just one year of eligibility remaining and UConn’s postseason ban is for one season.

The NCAA rule in this case is that a player is only eligible immediately if a program’s postseason ban is the length of their remaining eligibility.

The Smith situation seems to be rather simple when looking at it that way but the appeal is being made anyway.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports makes a good point in his piece on the story, noting that schools could approach players such as guards Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier if Smith’s appeal were to be upheld.

That could make a season that’s already expected to be difficult even tougher should any remaining players be placed in such a situation.

The question in terms of UNLV’s roster: do they even need him to be eligible immediately? It can definitely be argued that the answer to that is ‘no’.

The Runnin’ Rebels return Mike Moser, Carlos Lopez and Quintrell Thomas while adding freshmen Anthony Bennett and Demetris Morant and mid-season transfer Khem Birch (in December).

That’s six players who will fight it out for playing time beginning with practices leading up to their August trip to Canada.

Would it be nice to have Smith eligible immediately? Sure, but as Eisenberg points out UNLV may be better served to have him redshirt this season and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2013-14.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.