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Pat Chambers, Curtis Jones Jr. Still Waiting On NCAA Decision Over Transfer Eligibility Waiver

Sunday afternoon’s exhibition victory over Delaware featured plenty of signs of growth for the Penn State men’s basketball team, but there was one very noteworthy absence from the Nittany Lions’ rotation.

Curtis Jones Jr., a graduate transfer who’s suited up for both Indiana and Oklahoma State, had to sit out. After the game, head coach Pat Chambers said that the program is still waiting on word from the NCAA on Jones Jr.’s immediate eligibility.

“As far as Curtis Jones, he’s a double transfer,” Chambers said in his opening statement at the postgame press conference. “He requires a waiver, and we’re hoping to hear about that soon.”

Normally, receiving good news on a grad transfer’s eligibility shouldn’t be a problem. NCAA Bylaw 14.6.1, known as the ‘One-Time Transfer Exception,’ states that “A graduate student who is enrolled in a graduate or professional school of an institution other than the institution from which he or she previously received a baccalaureate degree may participate in intercollegiate athletics if he or she fulfills the conditions of the one-time transfer exception.”

Some of those conditions are simple to meet, such as having a year of eligibility left, which Jones Jr. obviously has.

But one condition in NCAA Bylaw 14.5.5.2.10 sticks out as potentially troublesome. It reads: “The student has not transferred previously from one four-year institution unless, in the previous transfer, the student-athlete received an exception.” The exception mentioned at the end of the rule is if the athlete was participating in a scholarship sport that has now been discontinued at the institution.

It’s hard to foresee a situation where Jones Jr. wouldn’t get a waiver, seeing as he sat out the entire second half of his sophomore season after transferring to the Cowboys mid-season from the Hoosiers, and then missed the first nine games of the 2018-19 season as he waited for the end of fall semester classes to become eligible. He sat out his due time without receiving a waiver, and now seems to qualify within the immediate eligibility parameters for grad transfers.

Jones Jr. was a major addition for this team, as he’s projected to factor into the backcourt rotation after averaging 7.7 points per game in Big 12 play and shooting 34.5 percent from beyond the arc for Oklahoma State last season. With Jones Jr. available alongside the springy defensive pairing of Jamari Wheeler and Izaiah Brockington, and fellow sharpshooters Myles Dread and Myreon Jones, this is sizing up to be the deepest pool of guards that Penn State has had in quite some time.

If this rule exists in the best interests of student athletes that have completed their undergraduate education and are taking postgraduate courses, Curtis Jones Jr. should easily be cleared to play this season. But with the season opener against Maryland-Eastern Shore only a week away, it is somewhat troubling that a decision has not been communicated by the NCAA.

Hopefully for the Nittany Lions, the 6-foot-4 guard will be available sooner rather than later, with one of Chambers’s most experienced rosters during his tenure at Penn State ready to take the next step in the Big Ten.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his role with Onward State, Mitch talks about all the #sprots on Penn State's CommRadio. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him as he yells on Twitter about Penn State basketball @mitchystew.

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