OSU's Olukemi deals with injury, eligibility issue
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Thursday, March 29, 2012
3/29/12 at 6:45 AM
STILLWATER - Oklahoma State basketball player Jean-Paul Olukemi, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained during his junior season, will have to clear an additional obstacle in order to play the entirety of his senior season.
Coach Travis Ford, during a season wrap-up session with reporters, said Wednesday that Olukemi is dealing with an eligibility issue.
As of now, Olukemi has only one semester of eligibility remaining. But, if he gets a favorable ruling from the NCAA, he will be green-lighted for a full season, Ford said.
OSU recruited Olukemi from a junior college (Vincennes University) in Indiana with the understanding that he would have three years of Division I eligibility.
After Olukemi arrived in Stillwater, a transcript review revealed that he had taken junior college coursework before going to Vincennes University and, therefore, his eligibility "clock" started before he got to Vincennes.
Ford said Olukemi took junior college coursework because he got bad advice while attending a troubled preparatory school in California.
"The coaches there told them to go over to this JC and take classes so they could keep playing, so all the players did that," Ford said.
Ford indicated Olukemi was surprised about the eligibility issue. The coach said Olukemi was just doing what adults had told him to do.
"There are rules within the rule books that say if you receive bad information. ... Then you get (the eligibility) back and it shouldn't hurt you," Ford said.
Olukemi was chosen to the Big 12's all-rookie squad as a sophomore at OSU and suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final nonconference game of his junior season. Because Olukemi lost half a season to injury, that may work in his favor when OSU pleads a case to have his eligibility restored.
"He should win the appeal," Ford said. "If (the NCAA is) about the student-athlete, he will win. The reason I think the rules are in place are for kids like this and he will get the whole year back."
Original Print Headline: Olukemi deals with eligibility issue
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
Oklahoma State's Jean-Paul Olukemi (right) is helped off the court after an injury against Virginia Tech in December. Olukemi is seeking a favorable ruling from the NCAA after an issue with his junior-college coursework. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World