- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Georgetown's Josh Smith's waiver to play this season, wipe away the six games he played at UCLA a year ago as a junior and grant him two full seasons of eligibility for the Hoyas wasn't unprecedented.
According to an NCAA spokesperson, the NCAA will and has erased a fall semester in the past and ultimately granted a player nine semesters instead of eight to play when there is a documented injury or health reason. Georgetown announced the decision on Wednesday.
Multiple coaches have told ESPN.com since Smith earned his waiver that they fear more players will look to Smith as a way to gain immediate eligibility if they leave mid-year. But NCAA spokesperson Chris Radford said any waiver to do that must be met with a documented reason.
Radford reiterated there are disclosures during a waiver that aren't made public due to student-privacy laws.
Smith earned his waiver on a first attempt and didn't have to go through an appeal process. The NCAA and Georgetown have declined to give a reason for Smith seeking his waiver.
Radford said the waivers are heard by the NCAA staff, led by the membership services division. If the waiver is denied then an appeal is sent to the subcommittee for legislative relief. The current Division I members who serve on that committee are: Matthew Banker (OVC), David Flores (Big 12), Kaity McKittrick (Lafayette College), Roderick Perry (Wright State) and Robert Philippi (CUSA). If it gets to this committee then they review it and either grant or deny the waiver or give one with a condition.
The 6-10 Smith will be an impact player for Georgetown in the new Big East. His teammates and staff told ESPN.com during a visit earlier this month that he could be the most dominant big man in the country. Smith's play was erratic at times at UCLA during his two-plus seasons with the Bruins. One of his six games for UCLA last season was coincidentally against Georgetown in the Legends Classic in November, 2012. He played 12 minutes and scored four points.
Smith averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes a game in six games last season, 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds in 17.2 minutes as a sophomore in 2011-12.
Smith's waiver came two days before Oregon's Joseph Young won an appeal to get a waiver to play immediately for the Ducks. Young's case was based on his father, Michael, being reassigned on the Houston staff and the hardship that caused for him.
Smith and Young will make their debuts against each other on Nov. 8 in the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Humphreys in South Korea.