The final act of basketball star-turned-actor Delvon Roe's Michigan State career will not feature a Hollywood-style return to the court.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced Thursday afternoon via Twitter that he decided not to request a waiver from the NCAA to allow Roe to make a brief appearance Sunday against Ohio State. Instead the retired forward will take part in pregame Senior Day festivities with his fellow seniors and sit on the bench during the game.
"The NCAA staff provided great compassion in allowing Delvon to participate in a way that Coach Izzo, Delvon and I desired," Hollis tweeted. "The focus of Delvon and the entire MSU community is on a (Big Ten) title. We love the support. Distractions must be placed on the shelf."
Roe announced in September that he'd forgo his final year of eligibility and retire from basketball after experiencing another setback with his surgically repaired right knee that required bone chips be removed from it. He instead turned his focus to professional acting, which is why he'd have needed a waiver from the NCAA to dress on Sunday because otherwise he would be in violation of amateurism rules
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said last week he'd like to give Roe a chance to make a brief appearance against the Buckeyes if the NCAA bends its rules. That prompted fans and former Spartans Mateen Cleaves and Drew Neitzel to express support for Roe by adding the hashtag "#LetDelvonPlay" to tweets this week.
Roe appreciated the gesture but he humbly tried to sidestep the spotlight on Thursday.
"I love my followers," he tweeted. "U all r great. It's not about me lets worry about wrappin up this big10 title OUTRIGHT!! let the NCAA do there job."
Roe has remained eternally upbeat despite a slew of knee and leg injuries that robbed him of his NBA-caliber athleticism and never allowed him to reach his all-American potential. He averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in three seasons as a Spartan and transformed himself into a defensive specialist, helping lead the team to back-to-back Final Four appearances as a freshman and sophomore.
"We've built our program at Michigan State on toughness, and I've never had a player who played through more pain than Delvon," Izzo said when Roe retired. "I feel bad for Delvon, because I know how much basketball means to him. It's a shame that most Spartans never got to see the player I recruited. And yet he found a way to contribute and be a valuable part of two Final Fours and Big Ten Championships just by his will and desire."
Roe has given a lot to college basketball with his effort and optimism. It's too bad the #LetDelvonPlay won't be successful, but at least he'll be back on the bench at the Breslin Center with his teammates one final time.
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