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Men’s Basketball: McAlarney’s future at school unclear; MSU denies CBS report

Chris Khorey and Ken Fowler | Friday, January 26, 2007

Even if suspended point guard Kyle McAlarney returns to Notre Dame next fall, he will have to take classes at another college this semester to ensure his eligibility for the beginning of the 2007-08 men’s basketball season.

And because of NCAA rules governing how many credit hours a student-athlete must complete in the past 12 months – and specifications for when the classes must be taken – McAlarney’s return to the court would be delayed until January unless he starts taking classes now.

A student athlete generally needs to earn 24 credit hours in the past calendar year to remain eligible at all times, and only six credits can come during a summer session, associate athletic director Mike Karwoski said.

Even if McAlarney took 15 credit hours this past fall, he would need to enroll at another school for the regular spring semester to meet the 18-hour minimum for the academic year before taking six credits at a school over the summer.

“I believe you need 24 credits within the last year to be eligible on an ongoing basis,” senior associate athletic director John Heisler said. “For him to return, you’d have to take whatever credits in the fall semester and add them with X number of credits he would get elsewhere.”

Moreover, NCAA bylaw mandates “satisfactory completion of six semester or six quarter hours of academic credit the preceding regular academic term (e.g., fall semester, winter quarter) in which the student-athlete has been enrolled full-time at any collegiate institution,” meaning that McAlarney must complete at least six credit hours at another school this semester in order to remain eligible for next fall.

In the event that McAlarney decides not to return to Notre Dame, he could begin playing for his new school as early as next January – provided he makes a decision fast. According to NCAA by-laws, a student-athlete can establish residency in an institution by the 12th day of classes in a semester, then start counting time towards the year they have to attend their new school before they can play.If McAlarney transfers to another school within days, he could feasibly lose less than 15 games of eligibility by transferring.

However, because spring semesters at many schools have already begun, McAlarney’s options are a limited and he must decide quickly if he chooses to go that route. If he waits until the end of this semester and then decides to transfer, he will have to sit out all of next basketball season.

According to NCAA bylaw, “A student-athlete who withdraws or is dismissed from an institution is considered to be a prospective student-athlete eligible for recruitment by other NCAA member institutions and may not continue to practice with the original institution’s team.”

CBSportsline.com reported Wednesday that Michigan State, Virginia and Xavier were all interested in McAlarney as a transfer. McAlarney is not enrolled or under scholarship from Notre Dame, but Michigan State senior associate athletic director for external relations Mark Hollis said the Spartans are focused on their current season.

“I just met with [Michigan State head] coach [Tom] Izzo and I’m not aware of anything [regarding McAlarney],” Hollis said.

Xavier sports information director Tom Eiser said he was not aware of any discussions about McAlarney, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility because Musketeers head coach Sean Miller “won’t comment on transfers.”

“They usually don’t tell me anything until after they’ve got a kid signed,” Eiser said.

At Virginia, assistant athletics media relations director Bill Hurd said he could not comment.

After playing during his freshman season and the first 12 games of this one, McAlarney has used two years of eligibility at Notre Dame. Whether he comes back to Notre Dame or goes elsewhere, McAlarney will complete his four years of NCAA eligibility in the spring of 2009, barring a future injury or other hardship.

Karwoski said that if McAlarney takes classes at another university in the spring in the hopes of returning to Notre Dame, it would not be considered a transfer for the purpose of the NCAA eligibility rules because he would not be playing basketball.

Furthermore, McAlarney would not need Notre Dame’s permission to take such a step and would be able to re-apply for fall 2007 without NCAA complications.

“There is no permission required for a student to enroll in an institution,” Karwoski said. “What triggers the [NCAA] transfer and the eligibility is a year in residence at the new institution.”