Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Syracuse University basketball fans are anxiously waiting to find out whether or not center Fab Melo will play this weekend when the Orange hosts West Virginia at the Carrier Dome.
The sophomore has missed the last two games for academic reasons. Without Melo, the team lost its first game of the season on Saturday to Notre Dame in South Bend and, on Monday, the Orange tumbled to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll and No. 4
in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.
Melo is eligible to practice. The academic violation could involve conference, school, or NCAA standards. When it comes to academic eligibility, there are specific NCAA standards for each level – at the Division I level, students must carry a 1.8 GPA their freshman year. That standard increases each year.
But Onondaga Community College Athletic Director and former SU compliance officer Rob Edson said that each case is different for each student. He added that the minimum requirements can vary from school to school and conference to conference.
“No matter what area you’re looking at - no matter what level – one thing that is very evident is that in the past decade, the academic rules and regulations that have gone into effect have increased significantly,” Edson said.
At the Division I level, student athletes have an extensive academic support staff in place.
“It’s common to have academic support staff that are significant in size and scope and then it tends to trickle off when you move down in levels at the same time,” said Edson.
Nevertheless, Edson said that while student athletes in high profile Division I sports get most of the attention; the responsibility for staying eligible never changes from junior college up to DI.
“At the end of the day, it’s the student that needs to perform the work,” he said. “It’s the student that needs to go to class. It’s the student that needs to do it right.”
Melo’s future this season is still the subject of speculation.
Appearing on the radio show Upon Further Review, Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim said that the player’s status has not changed, but that a release would be issued once it has been determined.