Hazelton's request to play in '09 rejected

Updated: June 10, 2009, 1:05 PM ET
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com

USC transfer Vidal Hazelton will not play for Cincinnati this season after the NCAA denied his request to become immediately eligible.

Hazelton told the NCAA that he left USC in order to be closer to his grandfather, who is battling cancer in Georgia. Instead, Hazelton will have to sit out this year as a transfer and play in 2010, when he will have one season of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver caught 50 passes for 540 yards with the Trojans in 2007. Bothered by a high ankle sprain last season, he had only six receptions.

Hazelton's addition could have given Cincinnati the deepest receiving corps in the Big East. The Bearcats still return Mardy Gilyard, a first-team All-Big East performer last year, and improving sophomore D.J. Woods. Another receiver, Marcus Barnett, moved to cornerback this spring.

Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com.