Mississippi State's Sidney and his family interviewed by NCAA

December, 23, 2009
12/23/09
9:03
PM ET
The NCAA has gone back and conducted interviews relating to the Renardo Sidney eligibility case, but the 6-9 Mississippi State freshman is no closer to a decision on whether he can compete this season.

Don Jackson, Sidney’s Montgomery, Ala., based attorney, said in a blast text and e-mail to the media Wednesday that Steve Webb and Alex Hammond of the NCAA’s eligibility center interviewed Sidney and his father, Renardo Sr., as well as his mother, Patricia, for nearly six hours Wednesday.

At issue is how Sidney paid for lodging during his junior and senior years of high school in Los Angeles after moving to the area from Jackson, Miss. The L.A. Times raised suspicion with a story earlier this year.

Jackson said most of the interview time was “devoted to information that was previously addressed during’’ similar interviews with the family in July. Jackson said the NCAA staffers wanted him to set up an interview with Reebok staffer Chris Rivers and an “elderly team mother from a Los Angeles high school.’’

Jackson and the family’s frustration stem from the NCAA making no effort to interview either Rivers or this woman previously.

Jackson said that Webb said the eligibility center has “no one on the record” that has established violations of any type. He said Webb has said the NCAA hopes to get someone on the record in the future. Jackson said in the text that Webb said the eligibility center cannot declare a student-athlete ineligible based upon anonymous sources, but confirmed that they only have anonymous sources of information.

Sidney has missed Mississippi State’s first 12 games. He can practice, but cannot travel with the team. The eligibility center hasn’t established a single violation.

Jackson is reluctant to file a court injunction to get Sidney to play because Mississippi State has made it clear it won’t play Sidney unless he is deemed eligible to compete.

Jackson has said from the beginning that the NCAA intends to slow play the process, thus not making a decision on his status. But he said Sidney has no interest in going overseas next semester and will stay in school.

Jackson added that Rivers has been involved with Renardo Sidney Sr.’s summer team for years, but no effort had been made to initiate contact with him, yet now they want to interview him.

Jackson said he has provided all of the necessary requests of information, including financial records.

Jackson has also contacted the Congressional Black Caucus to raise the concern of possible prejudice in this case and others involving the NCAA.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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