More on Andre Drummond

And now a twist to the whole Andre Drummond situation.

According to the Hartford Courant, UConn is talking to Michael Bradley about giving up his scholarship voluntarily, at least for the coming year, and applying for financial aid.  Bradley would then become a walk-on.  Other options, according to the Courant, would be for Enosch Wolf or Niels Giffey to leave and  play in Germany.

The possibilities involving Bradley and Wolf do not really come as surprises; they seem like the obvious candidates, especially since neither one is likely to see a lot of playing time when Drummond joins the team.

Giffey would be a loss; he seemed to be developing into a dependable and versatile player, and is the most logical candidate to pick up backcourt minutes if any of the three UConn guards are injured or in foul trouble.  Without Giffey, the Huskies become very frontcourt heavy.

The twist is that it’s too late in the year for UConn to revoke a scholarship. Scholarships are renewable year-to-year, and the renewal date is 7/1.  Now a player needs to voluntarily give up a scholarship.

UConn believes that Drummond would count against the 10 player scholarship limit, regardless of whether he’s given a scholarship.  In other words, they believe that he can’t be a walk on.  Supposedly, because they have been recruiting him, he can’t be a walk on.  I’m not quite that I understand this; Duke circumvented the 5/8 rule that was in place several years ago by allowing Lee Melchionni to join as a walk on.  Perhaps that rule was applied differently; perhaps that exemption has been closed; or perhaps the Blue Devils never recruited Melchionni.  I find the last part of that hard to believe, however.

It would be difficult to believe that UConn and Drummond went down this path without knowing there would be a solution, so I’m optimistic that it will be resolved.  If it’s Bradley, I suspect he’d be back on scholarship next year, since Drummond is likely to be one and done.

For the record, I’m sure that UConn will be within the NCAA rules, though they sure seem to be circumventing the 10 scholarship limit.  I wasn’t any happier when Duke circumvented the 5/8 rule.  I also am not in favor of the way that teams run off lesser players to free up scholarships, though that seems to pretty much happen everywhere.

There’s another interesting aspect to this story.  There is speculation that incoming UConn Athletic Director Paul Pendergast helped to pave the way for Drummond’s arrival, according to a story by Neill Ostrout of the Connecticut Post.  Ostrout reports that while outgoing AD Jeff Hathaway had “major reservations” about arranging for Drummond to come on board, Pendergast has been more open to the idea, and helped with the arrangements.  The Post also cites as reporting that Bradley will give up his scholarship.


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