Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Cook Denied Another Year Of Eligibility

Posted by Zach on August 22, 2008

Pittsburgh forward Mike Cook was denied another year of eligibility by the overbearing and completely unfair NCAA this week, marking another instance where the hierarchy that runs college basketball has prevented a scholar athlete from competing in the sport he loves. The reason for the dismissal of Cook’s eligibility waiver centered on the rule where a player who participated in 30% (where do they get that number?) of their team’s games cannot red shirt for the following season. Cook tore his ACL on December 20 against Duke in MSG, a classic contest that concluded in a game winning Levance Fields three-pointer that he dedicated to his friend Cook.

Cook played in Pittsburgh’s first 11 games before the injury accounting for 34% of Pittsburgh’s regular season games. The NCAA imposed a rule for medical red shirt purposes stating that all of the team’s postseason games would count as one total game. Counting postseason, Pitt played in 37 total games, meaning Cook would be eligible, but since the postseason counts as one total game, Cook was denied the ability to play this season. Much like the NCAA has done with recent transfers looking to withhold sitting out a year due to family circumstances, they should have allowed Cook to play this season as an exception.

Now, the Panthers will be denied one of their top performers for this upcoming campaign, one that could potentially end in a Big East title and national championship. Gilbert Brown now takes on a larger role with the team at the forward position, and more pressure lies on Sam Young and Fields to perform. Pitt will battle Notre Dame, Louisville and Connecticut atop the Big East, and Cook would have certainly helped them gain a slight advantage over the pack.

“Situations like this are hard to take when you know how dedicated Mike’s life has been to playing basketball,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said in a statement released by the university. “Over the last three years, Mike has contributed significantly to our success both on and off the floor and has been an important member of our basketball family.”

The situation outlined means if Cook had torn his ACL two games earlier, he would be eligible to play. These strict and unfair rules imposed by the NCAA, one that now prevents Cook from playing college basketball again after losing his final season due to a severe injury, someone who has been nothing but a positive performer on and off the court for Pitt, once again show a lack of flexibility by the NCAA and a lack of heart for a player who just wanted to suit up in Panthers blue and gold again.

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4 Responses to “Cook Denied Another Year Of Eligibility”

  1. Tommy said

    I agree 100% that this is bogus. After all the injuries Cook has gone through during his career as a Panther I think this guy deserves another chance. If he got hurt in the beginning of conference play then the NCAA’s decision would be justifiable, but he didn’t even play a conference game last year!

  2. Patrick said

    That sucks for Cook, but I can’t say I’m not a little bit happy because it makes Pitt worse and gives Marquette a better chance in the Big East.

  3. Zach said

    Shh….we’re supposed to stay objective….

  4. Dan said

    Sorry that he can’t play this year, but I fail to see why the NCAA’s decision is unfair.

    You can argue that the rules are unfair, but the decision made by the NCAA was the right call.

    Now I’m just trying to figure out why it took them so long. That’s what the NCAA screwed up here.

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