No leniency: 8 minutes in closed scrimmage at Clemson costs Donte Hill his senior year at ODU

The Clemson Sports Blog

Devin Booker, Jonah Baize and Donte Hill share a laugh at Clemson's basketball photo day.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Devin Booker, Jonah Baize and Donte Hill share a laugh at Clemson's basketball photo day.

A rule is a rule, after all.

Ask Donte Hill.

Hill, a former Clemson men's basketball signee and player, transferred to Old Dominion back in the fall of 2010 after Oliver Purnell unexpectedly left Clemson for DePaul. But not before he made an eight-minute appearance for the Tigers in a preseason closed practice scrimmage in November of what would have been his sophomore season.

Hill left the Clemson team before the season began, never played in a game, enrolled at ODU in January, and then sat out a season as a transfer.

Last week, Hill found out, courtesy of a unyielding, letter-of-the-law NCAA ruling, that he has already played his last collegiate game.

Hill chose not to participate in ODU's senior night festivities last March because he was confident that he'd win his petition to the NCAA not to count his eight meaningless minutes in a preseason practice scrimmage as a full season of competition.

On Thursday, he learned where the NCAA's head is at, so to speak.

Despite a precedent for leniency in similar cases, NCAA officials denied Hill's petition, ruling that the eight minutes he played in a closed-door preseason scrimmage in 2010 counted as an entire season of eligibility.

"Donte was clearly disappointed, but I think he had at least to some degree come to grips that this was the most likely outcome," said newly hired ODU coach Jeff Jones. "I feel bad for him. He's a very nice young man. He's done a great job in the classroom. Everyone at ODU I've talked to, talks about his character and his leadership. It's tough. It would have been great if the outcome had been different."

The NCAA rule in question states that "any competition, regardless of time, during a season in an intercollegiate sport shall be counted as a season of competition in that sport."

The NCAA makes an exception for true freshmen, but Hill was beginning his sophomore season at Clemson when he participated in the scrimmage and then decided to transfer.

"We'll miss that leadership and experience," Jones said. "I looked at him as a guy who would have made a contribution."

Meanwhile, we can assume that the NCAA will go on selectively enforcing the fine details of its rulebook on the one hand, while embracing 'deregulation' on the other - all while purporting to act in the best interest of student-athletes.

© 2013 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 6

kimpots writes:

wow, this sounds so unfair

rsb8931#286014 writes:

That's hard to believe they could rule in that way. If it's the rule and the coaches know the rule, then shame on the coach. I don't expect for a kid to know the NCAA's stupid rules but somebody at Clemson ought to know them and share them with the student athletes. It's too bad he and ODU can't just ignore the NCAA and play anyway. It's too bad that the NCAA is so ignorant in their enforcement of their rules. Yes, the rules are made by people that are involved with something they have no idea of what it is (sports). On the other hand, he should have stayed at Clemson!!!

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to rsb8931#286014:

That's hard to believe they could rule in that way. If it's the rule and the coaches know the rule, then shame on the coach. I don't expect for a kid to know the NCAA's stupid rules but somebody at Clemson ought to know them and share them with the student athletes. It's too bad he and ODU can't just ignore the NCAA and play anyway. It's too bad that the NCAA is so ignorant in their enforcement of their rules. Yes, the rules are made by people that are involved with something they have no idea of what it is (sports). On the other hand, he should have stayed at Clemson!!!

I don't know the facts, like all of us. But in all probablity Hill hadn't told the coaches of his plans to transfer at that point. Otherwise the coaches would have reminded him of the rule we have to assume. I don't think Purnell...or Brownell...or whoever was in charge at that point would purposefully hurt the kid.

But boy, that was a heartless and overly strict ruling, imho.

SoCalTiger writes:

Hill probably had no idea that that 8 minutes would come back to bite him. He should have told Brownell earlier that he was going to transfer. I don't think BB would have let him play if he knew Hill was going to transfer. Players often transfer because of lack of playing time. Isn't that something that is earned? Whatever happened to the days when players stayed put on one team as a show of gratitude for a free college education?

cuGIZ82 writes:

That is a horrible ruling. NCAA allow coaches to leave teams and join another in the middle of a season. Shame on the NCAA. A player should have a right to move onto a better situation, if they feel one is available to them.

Bigboots writes:

He Donte get to play any more.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features