Orlando Sanchez Cleared By NCAA

Senior Orlando Sanchez has been deemed eligible by the NCAA to play for the St. John’s men’s basketball team during the 2013-2014 season, according to the team.

The 24-year-old player was deemed ineligible prior to the 2012-2013 season after the NCAA ruled that he had used all four years of his eligibility. Those four years included two with Monroe College from 2010-2012, eight games with a Dominican Republic club team in 2009 and 3 minutes 38 seconds on the court with the Dominican Republic National Team in July 2010.

“It’s big news,” Sanchez said in a statement. “I can play next year. I’m so happy. I’m going to call my grandma right now and tell her the great news. I’m going to tell them ‘I’m free. I can play.’ I’d like to thank my lawyer Robert Orr, [head coach Steve] Lavin, the entire staff, to our fans as well, my teammates and everybody; thank you very much.”

St. John’s hired Robert Orr to appeal the Dominican native’s case during the month of February. Orr resubmitted an application for a Waiver of Legislation Request to the NCAA.

“I am delighted to receive this good news for Orlando and St. John’s,” Orr said in a statement. “It is the right decision and I’m appreciative of the NCAA staff working with us in order to reconsider the waiver request.”

The argument for Sanchez’s eligibility was two pronged, according to Orr. First, it was based off of the fact that the 6-foot-9 forward experienced hardship through his teenage years as he tried to support his grandmother. That involved moving to Spain for four years and working as a carpenter.

The second argument involved the 3 minutes 38 seconds that Sanchez spent playing for the Dominican Republic National Team. That playing time took place in July 2010 and Sanchez enrolled that fall at Monroe College, meaning that both years of eligibility took place a few months apart.

The NCAA said in a statement that it reviewed the newly submitted information this week and came to a conclusion that the two factors stated above “warranted relief from the [21-year-old] rule.”

“Specifically, the [NCAA] staff pointed to new documentation presented by the institution supporting the assertion that the student-athlete was unable to enroll in high school in Spain and continue his education at that time,” the NCAA said in the statement.

Lavin responded to the news in a statement.

“We are grateful that he will be able to contribute on the court next season, as well as pursue his dream of earning his college degree,” he said. “We are proud of how Orlando demonstrated patience and grace during this process”


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