NCAA has yet to decide on Dee Bost

September, 27, 2010
09/27/10
10:58
AM ET
The most misunderstood aspect of Dee Bost's attempt to regain his eligibility at Mississippi State is that the issue is based solely on him missing the new May 8 deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft by a matter of hours.

That's not the reason Bost's case continues to drag on, as the Oct. 15 start of practice quickly approaches.

Mississippi State has contended for months that Bost and the staff fully grasped that the early entrant deadline had been moved up from 10 days prior to the draft to May 8. The confusion was with another nuance to the rule change -- that a player who went undrafted couldn't return to school. That rule has been in place for years, although few had used it since most players had already given up their amateur status by signing with an agent.

But there is still more to the NCAA's investigation into whether it should allow Bost to play his junior and senior seasons at Mississippi State.

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said the following in an e-mail, when asked why it had taken months to get an answer on Bost's eligibility:

"On average, the NCAA receives more than 2,000 reinstatement cases and waiver requests annually. To ensure we are examining these cases in a manner that is fair to the student-athletes, these requests are prioritized, when necessary, based on the next date of competition that could be impacted by the decision. Also, as you know, many times there are more details regarding these cases than what has been reported in the media."

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Dee Bost
Don McPeak/US PresswireWith the start of practice less than three weeks away, MSU still doesn't know the status of its starting point guard.

The last sentence is the key statement.

According to a source with knowledge of the case, the NCAA has questions about who paid for Bost to work out in Las Vegas for a three-week period while he was supposedly prepping for the draft. The NCAA has asked for phone records and check receipts from Bost to see how the trip was paid for.

Joe Abunassar, a trainer for NBA draft picks and current NBA players, said Bost was at his facility in Las Vegas for the three-week period. But Abunassar said an invoice was sent out and paid.

"We sent it to Dee Bost, not to the school," Abunassar said. "Someone from his family had called us and said that we need to do this right and get the kid back in school. It was definitely someone in his family, an uncle or someone, maybe his mom, but we sent it to him. The bill was paid. It was not some weird deal."

Abunassar said he has not heard from the NCAA inquiring about Bost's stay or for proof that the check was paid. Abunassar said Bost was in the Vegas gym with former Mississippi State teammate Jarvis Varnado.

"One day he was gone," Abunassar said of Bost. "It was right after the [withdrawal] date. He was saying that he was going back to school."

Bost, a rising junior point guard, started all 36 games for the Bulldogs last season and averaged 13 points and 5.2 assists a game. He posted 20 double-digit scoring games, including 15 in the final 23 games.

Bost has been allowed to go through workouts with the Bulldogs and MSU is making the argument that he innocently made a mistake, has been a model student in the summer and fall sessions and truly wants to be a student-athlete at Mississippi State.

If Bost is eligible, the Bullies likely will be the favorite in the SEC West. Ole Miss returns the top point guard in the SEC in Chris Warren, but Bost would give State comparable experience, although not as productive a scorer. The backcourt would be set with Bost and Ravern Johnson and the frontcourt has the potential to be a tough once sophomore Renardo Sidney becomes eligible after the first nine games of the season.

Sidney's amateurism eligibility case took up all of last season before he was docked an additional nine games this season. Senior Kodi Augustus should be the experienced anchor in the paint and the hope is that oft-injured, 7-foot-1 center John Riek is ready to be a major contributor, mainly on the defensive end to make up for the loss of the shot-blocker Varnado.

The Bulldogs will eventually have a major force inside in UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie, but he'll have to sit out this season. But having Sidney go against Moultrie in practice should only make the former a more productive player.

• As for the 2010-11 schedule, Mississippi State has yet to officially release it. The team is still searching for one more game in December. One source said the reasoning is that if Bost gets a game penalty from the NCAA, he would have an additional game to prep before the SEC season begins. For that opening, the school has had discussions with Saint Mary's and UMass, among others. In December, the Bulldogs will already have one heck of a journey, going from the Bahamas (where they'll play Virginia Tech) to Honolulu (where they'll play in the loaded Diamond Head Classic). Will Bost make the trip? As with the Sidney case last season, all MSU can do is sit and wait for the NCAA to decide.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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