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WVU basketball: Holton's eligibility still up in the air

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Ten days into West Virginia's preseason basketball practice, Bob Huggins says he still doesn't know the status of Jonathan Holton.

The junior college transfer forward is practicing with the Mountaineers, but whether he can play or not once the season begins Nov. 8 remains in doubt.

"I don't know any more than I did last week,'' said Huggins, who when practice began Sept. 30 said he thought he might have an answer within a week.

Holton's eligibility issues are still unknown and Huggins said he couldn't speak to them specifically.

A 6-foot-9 forward, Holton spent his freshman season in 2010-11 at Rhode Island, where he was named to the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team after averaging 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds. But he was dismissed from school there after the season when he was arrested and charged with video voyeurism. Holton allegedly videotaped consensual sex with women on two different occasions and the videos were later posted on the Internet.

Holton then spent last season at Palm Beach State, a junior college near his home in Florida. West Virginia signed him in the spring, under the condition that his legal issues were satisfactorily addressed. In late May, a Rhode Island court sentenced him to probation and at the time a WVU official said it appeared that the plea agreement contained no stipulations that would preclude Holton from enrolling in school and playing.

Then, though, Holton had to finish his class work at Palm Beach State and graduate with an associate's degree in order to enroll. By the start of the fall term he had not yet enrolled, but was added to the roster two weeks later after presumably enrolling in school.

Whether Holton's eligibility issues involve his legal entanglements, his academics or other matters isn't clear. Huggins also said that if Holton is not eligible to play right away, he would not become eligible for the second semester, either.

"He wouldn't be able to play at all,'' Huggins said when asked if a second-semester debut was possible. "We would redshirt him.''

Holton does have a redshirt year to use if needed. Athletes have five years to complete four years of eligibility and Holton has played at some level each of the last two years. He has two years of eligibility remaining, regardless of whether he begins play this year or next.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

 


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