November 20, 2009 8:40:00 AM
The status of Mississippi State freshman forward Renardo Sidney changed Thursday, but it wasn''t good enough to get him off the bench against the University of Southeastern Louisiana.
The NCAA Eligibility Center issued a statement saying the Sidney case went from Not Certified due to Non-Response to Under Review. This change allowed the Eligibility Center staff to restart the process of determining whether Sidney meets NCAA requirements for initial eligibility.
Sidney''s attorney Donald Jackson has called the change "insignificant." He continues to insist this process drags on unnecessarily and the NCAA has failed to come up with a violation.
Jackson has been trying to get Sidney cleared by the NCAA since he signed with the Bulldogs on April 30.
Sidney is practicing at MSU, but hasn''t played in exhibition or regular season games.
On Thursday, Sidney was in street clothes with a towel around his neck laughing and talking with teammates.
Although Sidney didn''t appear to be worried, senior center Jarvis Varnado has tried to provide comfort behind the scenes.
"I know it''s tough on him some days and he gets real frustrated because he''s not out there," Varnado said. "I told him everything happens for a purpose and just pray about it and the Lord will see you through."
Sidney was placed in Not Certified due to Non-Response status in September while the Eligibility Center awaited receipt of specific documents that was first requested in April.
There have been two additional requests for the same information since then. Some, but not all, of that information has been received. An NCAA representative reviewed bank deposit information Oct. 30 in Jackson''s office.
Jackson said throughout the summer the requests for financial records were an invasion of Sidney''s privacy.
The NCAA said the receipt of documents is one of several steps necessary for making a certification decision. All initial eligibility certification decisions are based on NCAA amateur guidelines as established by the membership.
There''s no timetable for Sidney''s certification decision to be made, but the Eligibility Center states its goal "is to arrive at a decision as quickly as possible."
The Eligibility Center annually completes approximately 80,000 certifications in amateur cases. Less than 1 percent involve an eligibility penalty.