Last Friday, Illinois head coach John Groce said that senior guard Ahmad Starks was still awaiting a decision from the NCAA on whether he will be permitted a hardship waiver and be eligible to play this season.
The NCAA made their decision tonight as they denied Starks’ hardship waiver request to play this season. The reason the NCAA denied Starks’ request was because his home is more than 100 miles from Champaign, Illinois.
Starks, an Illinois native, transfers to the Fighting Illini this past offseason after playing three season for the Oregon State Beavers. He averaged 10.4 points per game last season for Craig Robinson and the Beavers.
According to ESPNChicago’s Jeff Goodman, Groce issued a statement that said:
“Following a lengthy process, we have received final word from the NCAA on Ahmad’s status. We are all disappointed with the decision to deny the waiver and especially feel bad for Ahmad and his family. Ahmad had a compelling case, returning to his home state to be closer to an ailing grandmother who played an instrumental role in raising him. However, we now have to move forward. Ahmad will focus on preparing our team in practice while also making individual improvement, fueled by the goal of returning to the court in 2014-15.”
Many players have received waivers after requests to return closer to home to be near ailing family members. Starks wanted his wavier in order to be close to his grandmother, who has been sick.
Ahmad Starks was expected to start for John Groce’s Illini squad this season, but will now need to wait until the 2014-2015 season to start for coach Groce.
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