Donte Hill and former Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor (USA Today Sports Images)
Donte Hill chose not to participate in senior night festivities at Old Dominion last March because the 6-foot-4 guard was optimistic he'd win his petition this offseason and receive another full year of eligibility.
On Thursday, he learned never to assume common sense will prevail when the NCAA is involved.
NCAA officials denied Hill's petition, ruling that the eight minutes he played in a closed-door preseason scrimmage in 2010 counted as an entire season of eligibility. Hill did not play again in the 2010-11 season, transferring from Clemson to Old Dominion soon after the scrimmage and sitting out the rest of the year.
Newly hired Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones said Clemson officials told him they informed Hill he was risking an entire year of eligibility by transferring after the scrimmage, but Hill told Jones he was unaware until afterward. Regardless, barring a change of heart from the NCAA, Hill will not be allowed to play for Old Dominion next season and his college career is over.
"Donte was clearly disappointed, but I think he had at least to some degree come to grips that this was the most likely outcome," Jones said. "I feel bad for him. He's a very nice young man. He's done a great job in the classroom. Everyone at ODU I've talked to, talks about his character and his leadership. It's tough. It would have been great if the outcome had been different."
The bylaw in question states that "any competition, regardless of time, during a season in an intercollegiate sport shall be counted as a season of competition in that sport." The NCAA makes an exception for true freshmen, but Hill was beginning his sophomore season at Clemson when he participated in the scrimmage.
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