October 02, 2012
Maxwell Smith underwent surgery this morning for a torn ligament in his ankle and is out indefinitely. Assuming he doesn't return this season, he'll be eligible for a medical hardship waiver.
But we've gotten some questions on how this works, so I thought I'd try to explain it as I understand it. Here's the short answer:
NCAA rules state that to be eligible for a medical hardship, an athlete cannot have played in more than 30 percent of his/her team's games for a season. That would seem to make Smith ineligible, because he played in four games (Louisville, Kent State, WKU, South Carolina). Four of 12 games is 33 percent. But it's more complicated than that.
The NCAA calculates 30 percent of a 12-game football season as 3.6 games. Then, you're allowed to round up. That means that 3.6 games rounds to four games.
Which makes Maxwell Smith eligible for a medical hardship waiver this year.
The only thing that could change this would be if he recovers quickly and returns this season. Playing at all in the second half of a season disqualifies a player for a medical hardship. UK's game against Arkansas on Oct. 13 marks the beginning of the second half of the season.