Old Dominion guard Donte Hill's college career is done. He isn't going to get a fourth season. All because he played eight minutes in a closed-door, preseason scrimmage three years ago. Rules are rules!
Hill started at Clemson, and before his sophomore season in 2010, played in a closed scrimmage against Georgia. A few days later, he announced he was transferring to ODU. He presumably assumed that the brief action didn't count, since he was allowed to suit up after sitting out that 2010-2011 season. (All transfers must sit out a year.)
He played two years at ODU, where he became a co-captain and led the Monarchs in minutes. But at some point this spring, the school became aware that his eligibility had expired. Yesterday, the NCAA turned down ODU's appeal to give him a true senior season. Sorry, bud.
"It's just a shame," coach Jeff Jones said. "I understand the rule is the rule. Unfortunately, Donte is the one who pays the price."
You can say Hill and ODU should have known: the bylaws state that "any competition, regardless of time, during a season in an intercollegiate sport shall be counted as a season of competition in that sport." But it's not about the player or the school getting blindsided. It's about the NCAA holding its unparsable rulebook to be so immaculate, it's impenetrable to common sense.