Multiple outlets are reporting this week that Wisconsin will receive a final ruling on Andy Van Vliet's eligibility no later than Tuesday. The team announced Van Vliet was ineligible to play prior to its exhibition last Wednesday. Wisconsin immediately appealed the initial denial of its waiver request, citing factors outside the player's control.
According to at least one report, UW knew this issue could become problematic for as long as the Badgers have been recruiting Van Vliet.
Wisconsin is arguing in its appeal that circumstances surrounding a family illness contributed to Van Vliet's grades dipping in high school. As a result, Van Vliet repeated his junior year, yet the timer on his one-year window to enroll in college started ticking in 2013. ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin dug into the finer details of Belgium's secondary education system on the Jump Around podcast on Thursday, helping to explain why Van Vliet would be compelled to reclassify.
The appeal process involves rulings from compliance departments at five random universities. A majority of them must vote in favor of the player receiving eligibility. If not enough arbiters decide that Van Vliet's case is what one UW official termed a "unique circumstance" and the appeal is denied, he will become eligible next season as a 21-year-old sophomore.
In other words, three of the compliance departments must agree that Van Vliet's control over his grades were affected by the family illness and thus, his one-year window should have been reset once he repeated his junior year.
It's far from a sure thing. For his part, Van Vliet is understandably frustrated.
"I know he’s having a rough time," fellow freshman Brevin Pritzl said of van Vliet. "He lives just a floor up from me. We talk a lot. It definitely sucks seeing the situation he’s in. He’s a heck of a competitor and he wants to play so bad."
If he is ruled eligible, Van Vliet could potentially play in UW's second game of the season against Siena. Van Vliet cannot suit up or travel with the team while he is ineligible.