Thursday, September 16, 1999

Chalmers declared partial qualifier


XU recruit gets break from NCAA but still can't play

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Xavier got a minor concession from the NCAA on behalf of freshman Lionel Chalmers but not enough for the point guard to be able to play for the Musketeers when the season begins.

        An NCAA committee ruled Tuesday that Chalmers can be a partial qualifier, meaning he can become a scholarship student-athlete and practice with the team but not play in games.

        XU probably will start the season with just one scholarship point guard, junior Maurice McAfee. Xavier coach Skip Prosser said redshirt sophomore Alvin Brown will start practices next month as McAfee's backup if Chalmers is unavailable. “Alvin is a bright enough kid to pick up the stuff,” Prosser said.

        The NCAA had determined that Chalmers was an academic non-qualifier, meaning he could not practice or play with the team nor be on scholarship. Xavier appealed and is not ready to give up the fight.

        “It's an accommodation, and we appreciate it,” XU Athletic Director Mike Bobinski said. “But we really don't feel it went far enough.

        “We'd like to see them take the next step and let him have the opportunity to take the exam — should he choose to do so — while remaining in that partial qualifier status ... The young man was done an injustice. He was misadvised repeatedly by any number of parties.”

        Xavier was notified of the committee's decision by voice mail late Tuesday. Bobinski has yet to talk to an NCAA official to find out whether there are further options.

        Chalmers is paying for his own classes at Xavier. The NCAA decision leaves him some choices:

        • He can stay at XU on scholarship, sit out this season, then play next fall. Chalmers would be able to get a fourth year of eligibility if he completed requirements for his degree by the end of his fourth school year.

        • He can withdraw from XU and retake the SAT or ACT in an effort to become eligible for the second semester, which starts Jan.10.

        • He can stay at XU, continue to pay his way as a part-time student, then take the SAT or ACT to try to become eligible for the second semester.

        Renee Chalmers, Lionel's mother, said Wednesday that she is waiting for Bobinski to talk to the NCAA. She said she didn't know what her son would do.

        Chalmers transfered high schools after his junior year. As a senior, he was told what courses to take and what grades and test score he needed to be eligible at Xavier, and he did what he thought was necessary.

        A miscommunication between the two high schools resulted in Chalmers' combined grades and test score not qualifying him academically.

       



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