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NCAA makes right call on Billy Edelin


Oct. 22, 2004
Great news for Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim -- the NCAA granted the waiver petition of junior guard Billy Edelin, making him immediately eligible to compete for the Orange.

Billy Edelin
After leaving the team last season, Syracuse guard Billy Edelin is ready to run the break again.
The NCAA cited Edelin's recent academic improvement and the academic recovery plan presented by the school as reasons for approval. This was Edelin's first request for an academic waiver.

It was great news because the NCAA has dragged out its handling of several other situations in recent months. There was the case of Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom, who did not regain his football eligibility. The idea was to allow Bloom to make money professionally in one sport and be eligible for another college sport. It didn't work out that way.

USC wide receiver Mike Williams, after being declared ineligible for the NFL draft, suddenly found himself without a place to play. Then he lost a battle to retain his eligibility at USC.

In those cases, the NCAA showed no compassion. I thought the NCAA should have helped these kids.

But the Edelin situation shows that the NCAA staff can work with the best interests of the student-athlete in mind. They made a quick decision and gave the kid an opportunity.

Boeheim said, "We want to continue to support Billy as he works toward his degree. To that end, he will not join our regular practice sessions until he and I are comfortable with his academic standing this semester. We feel that should be his biggest priority right now."

That was a great move on Boeheim's part. The priority is in place, and now Edelin has to do the right things before getting back on the court.

It hasn't been an easy career for Edelin so far. He sat out a 12-game NCAA suspension at the start of the 2002-03 season after participating in a men's recreation league. His involvement in that league came while serving a yearlong, university-imposed suspension.

After starting the first 16 games of the 2003-04 season, Edelin abruptly left the team for personal reasons. He later cited a medical hardship for his decision to withdraw from school.

Hopefully the young man can take a negative and turn it into a positive. He's gone through a lot, seeing his career curtailed from what could have been something special. The potential has always been there. There is no question he would be a great asset to the Syracuse tandem of Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara.

Edelin has two years of athletic eligibility remaining at Syracuse. Hopefully he will make the right moves, go to class, get his work done and get the academics in order.

This could be a victory for everyone involved.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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