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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / February 20.
  • Herb Pope Request Denied

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    Some bad news for Seton Hall fans.

    Herb Pope’s initial request for a waiver that would enable him to play for the 2008-09 season has been denied. Seton Hall plans to appeal the decision to the NCAA Subcommittee.

    The 6-foot-9 Pope transferred from New Mexico State and was hoping to play this year because of extenuating circumstances related to his family.

    Seton Hall, meanwhile, is still awaiting word on whether 6-11 freshman Melvyn “Big Mel” Oliver has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

    “They got all the stuff in the Clearinghouse so they’re waiting to hear back from them right now,” said Victor Evans, Oliver’s high school coach. “You never know. You just give them what they ask for. They’re just waiting. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. It shouldn’t be.”

    If Oliver, Pope and Missouri transfer Keon Lawrence, who is also seeking a waiver to play this year, are not cleared to play, the Pirates will have eight scholarship players, seven when Robert “Stix” Mitchell serves his two-game suspension at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • I’m not a Seton Hall fan, but I was curious what is the logic/reasoning that enables Julian Vaughn to be eligible immediately at Georgetown, but Herb Pope to be ineligible at SH. Do you feel that Vaughn had a “better case?”

    • Good question, it’s hard to say how the NCAA will break down the 20 or so waiver requests in front of it.

      According to John Thompson III: “Julian transferred to be closer to his home for personal reasons which he wishes to keep private. This was considered by the NCAA along with his good academic standing and the lack of objection from FSU. They granted him a waiver from the usual transfer rules and we’re very pleased that Julian will be part of our program and have the opportunity to lend support to his family.”

      Hard to know how this differs from Lawrence and Pope without having all the specific facts in front of us.

      I’d love to hear the NCAA’s explanation, but I doubt we’ll ever get a full one.

    • Thanks.

      With the lack of clarity in these cases, it creates a sense amongst fans that, rightly or wrongly, the NCAA is making relatively arbitrary decisions.