Wisconsin Badgers junior forward Micah Potter had his third and final appeal to get an eligibility waiver denied by the NCAA on Thursday afternoon. He will remain sidelined until December 21, 2019 when he will be able to play against UW-Milwaukee.
Potter, who transferred from Ohio State last season, has already sat out an entire season (the 2018-19 one) because he decided he didn’t want to play in Columbus a few days before the start of the season. Potter stayed enrolled at Ohio State for the first semester of school in order to complete his coursework and then he moved on to Madison in December of 2018.
The NCAA requires that an athlete that is transferring schools needs a full year to get acclimated to the new institution, but Potter has been arguing that his grades prove that he was fully acclimated even though he didn’t spend the fall semester in Madison. Per Jim Polzin’s great recap of this whole saga:
One of Potter’s arguments from the start has been that his transition from Ohio State to UW was smooth. He earned a grade-point average of 3.3 better during the spring and summer semesters at UW after posting a 3.5 GPA during his final semester at Ohio State.
In other words, getting acclimated at UW wasn’t an issue. Furthermore, Potter argued that it was unfair that he had to sit out three semesters — he didn’t play a single minute last season — when other transfers around the country are being granted immediate eligibility without missing any games.
Throughout the entire process, Ohio State vouched for Potter and the Big Ten even said it was fine that he was transferring between member schools. Everyone seemed on board with allowing Potter to play right away to start the 2019-20 season. Everyone, that is, except the NCAA.
The NCAA’s decision on Micah Potter isn’t surprising, but it is disappointing. He’s seemingly the definition of a student-athlete and it appears he’s being punished for it. That shouldn’t happen. #Badgers— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) November 21, 2019
There are a number of different factors that the NCAA uses to grant players immediate eligibility. According to Polzin, Potter’s case didn’t seem to fit into any of these factors smoothly and as such, Potter was continually being denied...because the NCAA is incapable of using common sense. That last part wasn’t mentioned by Polzin, but was added by me. Because it’s true.
“The kid is going to graduate this spring, he’s going to be in grad school next year. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” head coach Greg Gard said on November, 2nd, “He hasn’t played in a year.”
The Badgers remain shorthanded in the front court until Potter returns and have a series of challenging games coming up after tonight’s match up with Green Bay. Wisconsin heads to Brooklyn to play Richmond and potentially No. 19 Auburn, then the travel to N.C. State for the B1G/ACC Challenge and after that they have two conference games against Indiana and Rutgers.
Rarely are things so black and white as the NCAA's poor judgement in denying Micah Potter's request for immediate eligibility, instead forcing him to sit out 1 1/2 years while granting waivers for dozens of others with no loss of time. That's the nicest possible way I can put it.— Travis Wilson (@travisWSN) November 21, 2019
Wisconsin returns to the court on Thursday evening against Green Bay. You can find the game preview and open thread right here.