Arkansas freshman declared academically eligible

Updated: October 5, 2006, 9:02 PM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas freshman Michael Washington was declared eligible for the upcoming basketball season by the NCAA, the university announced Thursday.

The Razorbacks have been waiting for Washington to be ruled academically eligible. The Southeastern Conference must now review the case -- Arkansas officials expect the league will do so before the Razorbacks start practice Oct. 13.

"Obviously there is a lot of excitement because this part of the process has been completed," coach Stan Heath said. "We're happy for Michael because one hurdle has been cleared."

Washington, a forward, averaged 31.6 points, 14.8 rebounds and 9.0 blocked shots per game last year at Genesis One Christian School in Mendenhall, Miss. Genesis One is one of several prep schools whose academic standards have been under scrutiny from the NCAA.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press