Unusual NCAA loophole sends Luke Cothron to New Orleans

It's rare for a loophole in the NCAA rulebook to actually benefit all parties involved, but that seems to be the case with highly touted Luke Cothron's abrupt transfer to the University of New Orleans earlier this month.

Originally a Class of 2010 Auburn signee who didn't have the grades to play there, Cothron enrolled at UMass in the fall and intended to sit out the year as an academic non-qualifier. Homesick and unhappy, the 6-foot-9 forward decided to leave UMass and enroll at New Orleans because of a quirky rule that makes the school the ideal destination for a player in his situation.

Because New Orleans will transition out of the Division I ranks next season, transfers can not only play for the Privateers immediately but also leave after spring semester and play the following season elsewhere.

As a result, New Orleans gets the services of the No. 45 recruit in the Class of 2010 for a semester and Cothron gets to play in a structured environment and get his academics in order without losing the right to play elsewhere next season.

"It's a unique situation where he's able to come, get his education this semester and play basketball," New Orleans coach Joe Pasternack said Friday. "This is really going to help Luke because he'll be able to be in school and get his academics in order and also have an opportunity to play this year. That's huge for his development."

Pasternack sidestepped the question when asked if he had misgivings about Cothron likely only being part of his program for a few months, but the 6-foot-9 forward was more straightforward with his intentions. He told FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman on Friday that he intends to reopen his recruitment after the spring semester.

"I just want to finish it out here, get through the semester and then got back on the big stage," Cothron said.

Pasternack learned of Cothron's interest only a few weeks ago and didn't meet the Alabama native until he arrived on campus earlier this week. Cothron practiced once before Tuesday's 57-53 loss to Tulane and then played six minutes, scoring two points and picking up two fouls.

"I shouldn't have put him in that situation," Pasternack said. It's tough having one practice. He's got a bright future and that's what we're excited about."

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