Boeheim waiting to let Edelin practice

Updated: October 22, 2004, 6:34 PM ET
Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The NCAA has granted the academic waiver petition of Syracuse junior guard Billy Edelin, making him immediately eligible to play for the Orange.

According to a release distributed by the NCAA, the membership service staff noted Edelin's recent academic improvement and the academic recovery plan presented by the institution as reasons for approval. The NCAA also stressed that it was Edelin's first request for an academic waiver.

"We're all pleased with the actions of the NCAA," coach Jim Boeheim said Wednesday in a statement. "This is another situation that proves that the NCAA staff is working with the best interests of the student-athlete in mind."

Boeheim said that despite the ruling Edelin would not join regular practice sessions "until he and I are comfortable with his academic standing this semester."

"We feel that should be his biggest priority right now," Boeheim said.

Edelin has two years of athletic eligibility remaining at Syracuse. He participated in the 2002-03 and the 2003-04 academic years. The university had submitted a progress-toward-degree waiver to the NCAA on Edelin's behalf earlier this semester.

Edelin had been declared ineligible for the first semester of the current academic year because he did not meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements. Jamie Mullin, director of athletic compliance, said Edelin was taking a course load this semester that would allow him to meet those requirements, and that helped sway the NCAA.

Edelin, a junior, was an integral part of the Orange's run to the national championship in 2003. He originally enrolled at Syracuse in the fall of 2001, but the university suspended him that October after two female students accused him of sexual misconduct. No charges were ever brought against Edelin, and he was reinstated by the university the following June.

The NCAA also suspended Edelin for the first 12 games of the 2002-03 season for participating in a dozen recreational league games while serving his university-imposed suspension.

Last season brought more problems. He started the first 16 games, averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 5.4 assists before suddenly leaving the team for what Boeheim termed "personal issues."

Edelin played 23 minutes in a loss at Providence on Feb. 7, but just when it seemed he had put his problems behind him, he failed to show up for Syracuse's home game against Rutgers three days later. He did not practice or play the remainder of the season for the Orange, who were eliminated in the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press