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NCAA reinstates Bost, hands down nine-game suspension

 

David Miller

 

STARKVILLE -- After three months of waiting for the NCAA to rule on his fate, Mississippi State junior point guard Dee Bost was reinstated Wednesday. 

 

In the spring, Bost entered his name in the NBA draft but failed to withdraw before the NCAA''s newly established deadline of May 8. Bost will serve a nine-game suspension for failing to meet the deadline. 

 

Bost''s suspension has a twist that, depending on the number of games MSU plays following the end of the semester on Dec. 10, could linger into Southeastern Conference play. Bost is academically ineligible for the fall semester, and will begin serving his suspension once the semester ends. 

 

MSU, which has yet to complete its 2010-11 schedule, could see Bost return for the Jan. 13 game at the University of Mississippi. Per NCAA rules, teams can only schedule 11 non-conference games plus one tournament. MSU hopes to schedule two more games between Dec. 10 and Jan. 8, when it will open Southeastern Conference play against Alabama in Starkville. 

 

A source said Bost would miss one SEC game at the most, but the goal is to have nine games -- excluding exhibitions -- out of the way before the league opener. 

 

"I want to thank the NCAA for hearing my case and allowing me to return to school and play basketball," Bost said. "I only wanted to test the waters and then return to Mississippi State. I realize I made a huge mistake in how I handled the situation, and I am thankful for a second chance." 

 

Bost has started all 72 games since his arrival at MSU. He is 140 points shy of 1,000 for a career. With 344 assists, he also is on pace to break the school record of 514 held by Derrick Zimmerman. Last season, Bost averaged 13 points and 4.4 rebounds and had 188 assists and 47 steals. 

 

"I''m happy for Dee and for our basketball program," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. "Our compliance staff, led by Bracky Brett, has put a lot of time and effort into this process, and I appreciate the NCAA taking all the circumstances surrounding this case under consideration." 

 

Brett said MSU won''t appeal the suspension. He said the investigation was done by the NCAA''s Agent Gambling Amateurism staff, which then reports its findings, Bost''s reinstatement request, and MSU''s findings to the Student Athlete Reinstatement Committee, which made the decision. 

 

On Monday, an ESPN report suggested questions of whether Bost paid for pre-draft workouts in Las Vegas extended the time it took the NCAA to make a ruling. While Brett wouldn''t comment on specifics of the case, he said the AGA''s investigation encompassed everything in the pre-draft process. Contact with agents, workouts for NBA teams, or, as the ESPN report suggests, questions about payments for personal workouts, would fall under that umbrella. 

 

"The bottom line is why did you miss the deadline?" Brett said Wednesday. "When you have a case like this, the staff is obligated to look at everything that happened." 

 

Brett also acknowledged the reinstatement committee''s overflow of football-related amateurism issues this fall, which has priority over cases of players in sports that haven''t started practice, contributed to the length of time needed to make a decision. 

 

The Bulldogs shared the SEC Western Division title last season en route to a 24-12 finish. They will begin practice Oct. 15. Their first game will be Nov. 12 against Tennessee State at Humphrey Coliseum. 

 

"I''m glad to have this behind us and now we can move forward," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. 

 

The NCAA''s ruling is the first since the new withdrawal deadline was established this year. Bost''s case sets a precedent for players who miss the deadline. 

 

However, NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said the case precedence wasn''t a factor in the decision. 

 

"The university declared the student-athlete ineligible when he did not remove his name from the NBA draft by the May 8 deadline required by NCAA rules," Osburn said. "During the reinstatement process, the NCAA staff reviews each case based on the facts provided by the university. Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors, including guidelines established by the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, the student-athlete''s responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university." 

 

Bost can attend MSU home games and sit on the bench, but he won''t travel with the team until the suspension is complete.

 

 

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