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Deontae Hawkins Eligible for Illinois State Next Year With a Catch

Deontae Hawkins, who originally signed with Wichita State in 2011, will join the Illinois State men’s basketball team this year, but has a couple of hurdles (h/t Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports) to being eligible. First, despite a year of prep school, Hawkins is a nonqualifier, and as such will not be allowed to practice or play with the Redhawks (no word on whether Hawkins got a partial initial eligibility waiver so that he could receive a scholarship). That failure to qualify cleared up one part of Hawkins’s move from WSU to ISU by rendering his NLI null and void.

The second hurdle was the Missouri Valley intra-conference transfer rule. That policy applies to any athlete who accepted a scholarship offer (i.e. signed a National Letter of Intent and/or scholarship agreement) and would have required Hawkins to sit out for at least one additional year. But Hawkins was given relief from any additional residency requirement, with one catch:

Hawkins will be permitted to compete for the Redbirds in the 2014–15 season; however, he is required to miss both of ISU’s regular-season games against Wichita State.

Any who follows European soccer will be familiar with loan deals, where a team temporarily sends a player to another team, sometimes in the same league, where they can get more playing time. Those loan agreements normally include a provision that the player cannot play in games against the club that still owns his rights.

Part of the MVC intra-conference transfer rule seems to offer institutions major flexibility in crafting these types of caveats when waiving the intra-conference transfer rule:

If a student-athlete wishes to pursue an intra-conference transfer, the Director of Athletics, or designee, at the initial institution must inform the student-athlete in writing of the condition or [sic] transfer including application or waiver of MVC and/or NCAA transfer rules and, if the intra-conference transfer is not supported, whether the initial institution wishes to have enforced a 2-year or 1-year residency requirement. A copy of the written notice shall be provided to the Conference Office.

Some intra-conference transfer rules are almost iron-clad, requiring the other conference schools to vote on whether they should be waived. In this case it looks like much of the discussion is between the institution and the student-athlete, who can then appeal to MVC committees. This flexibility appears to have transferred over to the conference which was able to craft this compromise.


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