Mississippi State junior point guard Dee Bost will be allowed to play college basketball but not without enduring a significant penalty.
The NCAA decided to reinstate Bost’s eligibility Wednesday afternoon but has issued him a nine-game suspension when he becomes academically eligible. The suspension by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Staff is specifically for Bost failing to properly withdraw by May 8 NBA draft deadline.
The Starkville Daily News reported Wednesday sources had said Mississippi State expected to hear a decision this week on Bost’s eligibility after school officials conducted recent discussions with the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee. “I want to thank the NCAA for hearing my case and allowing me to return to school and play basketball,” Bost said in the school’s press release.
However, the nine-game suspension will not go into effect unless Bost becomes academically eligible at the end of the fall semester. The current academic semester ends on Dec. 10 but NCAA rules mandate that a school can only schedule 11 non-conference games along with a pre-conference tournament. Without having a finalized non-conference schedule, it is still unknown when Bost will be available to play for Mississippi State.
“I’m glad to have this behind us and now we can move forward,” Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury stated in the release.
Bost will be allowed to participate when practice begins on Oct. 15 and will only be restricted from traveling to road games with the team. Bost has been allowed to participate in individual offseason workouts with the team during the review of his case. The Bulldogs’ season opener will be at Humphrey Coliseum on Nov. 12 against Tennessee State.
Mississippi State will be without Bost and sophomore forward Renardo Sidney for the first month of the season as Sidney, a former McDonald’s All-American prospect, has been suspended by the NCAA for the first nine regular season games of the 2010-11 season due to receiving impermissible benefits received prior he signed and arrived on the Mississippi State campus. An MSU spokesman confirmed to the media Wednesday evening that Bost will not miss more than the Southeastern Conference opener during the 2010-2011 season. The Bulldogs conference opener is a home game against Alabama on Jan. 8 with the next game five days later at Ole Miss.
“I’m happy for Dee and for our basketball program,” MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said in the release. “Our compliance staff, led by (MSU director of compliance) Bracky Brett, has put a lot of time and effort into this process, and I appreciate the NCAA taking all the circumstances surrounding this case under consideration.”
Bost, a 6-foot-2 guard, was coming off a sophomore season averaging 13 points, 5.2 assists per game and 4.4 rebounds per game. After he’d declared for the draft, Bost did not submit paperwork for withdrawal to the NBA and MSU compliance offices before 4 p.m. on May 8.
This is the first case in NCAA history of a men's college basketball player challenging the new draft withdraw deadline that was moved up from its original date in mid-June. Therefore, no case precedent existed for either side to argue on in this situation.
“Each case is considered on its own merits, not just on case precedent,” NCAA spokesman Stacey Osburn said. “During the reinstatement process, the NCAA staff reviews each case on its own merits based on the specific facts. Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors including guidelines established by the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, the student-athlete’s responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.”
Multiple sources told Starkville Daily News on May 8, Bost was informed by numerous school officials and coaches of the necessity to make a decision one way or another before the 4 p.m. deadline so MSU did not make part of its appeal that he was not properly informed throughout the situation.
“I only wanted to test the waters and then return to Mississippi State,” Bost stated. “I realize I made a huge mistake in how I handled the situation, and I am thankful for a second chance.”
If Bost declares for the 2011 NBA Draft, he is not eligible under NCAA rules to withdraw his name like he attempted to do this offseason.
With Bost’s eligibility intact, Mississippi State will be at the NCAA allotted limit of 13 scholarship players for the start of the 2010-11 season.