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,"
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
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
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.