NCAA clears junior

Updated: December 19, 2003, 3:34 AM ET
Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- The NCAA has cleared junior transfer Harvey Thomas to play basketball after an investigation of allegations that he had been provided an extra benefit by former members of the basketball staff.

"I am really thankful that this is behind me and I want to thank all of those involved in the final decision," Thomas said Thursday.

Thomas has missed Baylor's first eight games, but is expected to play Friday against BYU-Hawaii.

Baylor said it had first declared Thomas ineligible after the university's compliance investigation committee determined he had been given an extra benefit in violation of NCAA regulations. Baylor officials declined to comment on the nature of the alleged benefit.

"Our coaching staff and team are very excited to have Harvey eligible to play," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Baylor placed itself on a two-year probation this summer and will not play in the Big 12 tournament or any other postseason events this season.

The probation followed a school inquiry that began after the disappearance and death of player Patrick Dennehy. Former player Carlton Dotson is charged with the murder and is jailed in Waco.

Former coach Dave Bliss was found to be directly involved in paying tuition costs and other expenses for Dennehy and another player. Other players have not been named.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press