Odd Man Out?

Sunday’s Bluejay Banter radio show on 1620 the Zone had a lot of great information today.  From talking to Art Mains of Missouri St. media talking about the Bear’s chances next season to Creighton’s strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval talking about the Jays offseason workouts with Justin Carter leading the way and hearing that  P’Allen Stinnett puked for the first three days of workouts, it was definitely entertaining.

However, Cavel Witter was also on the show today.  A great interview reliving a bevy of winning shots in his career–The 40+ against Bradley on senior night, the winning shot against Rhode Island in the NIT, and the three clutch free throws at the end of the game last season against Southern Illinois to send the game into overtime–Cavel has had some great performances in the friendly confines of the Qwest.  The question everyone has been asking for a month or two now was, “Cavel, will you be on scholarship?”   And he answered a resounding “Yes.” He went on to say, he didn’t know anything else about how that was being handled.

So as Otter pointed out a little more than a month ago the return of Witter poses the question of who does not get a scholarship, or at worst, who may not be coming to Creighton of the 5 signees?  From all indications, it appears that the players that didn’t transfer out and graduated will be a part of the ’09-’10 Jays and newcomers Ethan Wragge, Andrew Bock and Wayne Runnels have been eagerly participating in offseason drills here in Omaha.  So as the dust settles and as Greg Allen and Darryl Ashford have not arrived in Omaha yet, are one of the two now not coming to Creighton?

This past week the Omaha World Herald published another article on Cavel Witter’s story on his quest to return to the Jays.  Later in the week when an article was published on the offseason program, questions arose about Ashford and Allen on their status with the team:

Two recruits — Darryl Ashford and Greg Allen — have yet to report as they take care of academic issues. Both said when they committed to Creighton in the spring that they hoped to be in Omaha by mid-July.

Altman declined to comment when asked if he’s concerned that either Ashford or Allen might not be able to clear all of their academic hurdles.

“That’s their business,” he said.

Ashford has had challenges in the past with academic problems as he was recruited out of high school by Bobby Knight and appeared to be a part of a Texas Tech class in ’07 when academic problems kept him from getting into Texas Tech.  He subsequently went to a prep school where again he was recruited by Texas Tech for ’08 class but still had to settle for Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas.   However, as he said when he signed is Letter of Intent,  he will do what he needs to in order to get to Omaha.

Allen on the other hand just graduated high school.  There were some academic issues with him as well as far as his SAT scores go as he originally committed to Idaho during the fall, but did not have a qualifying SAT score.  After receiving a qualifying score in the winter, recruiting interest went up in Allen and the Jays were the lucky ones to receive the commitment.  You could hear the excitement Greg has in coming to Creighton.    But if coach says there is still some academic work for Allen just getting out of high school, it sort of raises some red flags to me.

Allen is a little more of the interesting case as well because literally a few days after Allen was signed to his Letter of Intent (taking the scholarship left by Cavel Witter), the story came out of Cavel Witter trying to return to the team.

As far as NCAA Letter of Intents go, players aren’t required to sign them.  However, it keeps the John Wall’s and Xavier Henry’s of the world dangling their carrot out there that they may jump to another school if a different situation arises.   But for informational purposes,  there are a few situations where the LOI becomes null and void that might apply for one of the incoming players:

a. Admissions Requirement. This NLI shall be declared null and void if the institution named in this document notifies me in writing that I have been denied admission or, by the opening day of classes in the fall 2009 has failed to provide me with written notice of admission, provided I have submitted a complete admission application.

(1) It is presumed that I am eligible for admission and financial aid until information is submitted to the contrary. Thus, it is mandatory for me, upon request, to provide all necessary academic records and an application for admission to the institution named in this document.

(2) This NLI shall be rendered null and void if I am eligible for admission, but the institution named in this document defers admission to a subsequent term. . However, this NLI remains binding if I defer my admission.

b. Eligibility Requirements. This NLI shall be declared null and void if, by the opening day of classes in the fall of 2009, I have not met (a) the institution’s requirements for admissions, (b) its academic requirements for financial aid to student-athletes, or (c) the NCAA requirements for financial aid (NCAA Bylaw 14.3) or the junior college transfer requirements, provided I have submitted all necessary documents for eligibility determination.

(1) This NLI shall be rendered null and void if I become a nonqualifier (per NCAA Bylaw 14.3). NLI remains valid if I am a partial qualifier per NCAA Division II Bylaw 14.3.2.1.

(2) This NLI shall be rendered null and void if I am a midyear football junior college transfer and I fail to graduate from junior college at midyear (only for Division I nonqualifier). The NLI remains binding for the following fall term if I graduated, was eligible for admission and financial aid and met the junior college transfer requirements for competition for the winter or spring term, but chose to delay my admission.

c. One-Year Absence. This NLI shall be declared null and void if I have not attended any institution for at least one academic year, provided my request for athletics financial aid for a subsequent fall term is denied by the signing institution. I may still apply this provision if I initially enrolled in an NLI member institution but have been absent for at least one academic year. To apply this provision, I must file with the appropriate conference office a statement from the Director of Athletics at the institution named in this document that such athletics financial aid will not be available for the requested fall term.

Now, I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but it looks to me that if I had to take a guess, either Ashford or Allen will not be on this team this season.   Something is making me lean towards Allen.  Now it isn’t out of the question that one of the players like Allen ends up going to Junior College for a year.  He may even go to prep school for that matter.  However, that opens up the recruitment again for him and he may not return to Creighton after this.

There is still a possibility that he could still be a Jay as it is listed in a(2) up above that if Allen defers admission to another semester, his LOI is still valid as long is it isn’t a full year as it says in section c (where he would then have to apply for a provision) . What could be a real hit is if both players for some reason don’t end up making it to Creighton.  That changes the landscape again.  It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

In the end, we got one question answered today, but it just raises and keeps alive several more during this crazy offseason.  What do you think?

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One Response to Odd Man Out?

  1. Stephen P. Horn says:

    I talked to the OWH CU reporter who seems to think one of them will not make it.

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