Alex Rosenberg has withdrawn from Columbia University after suffering a foot injury that could keep him out more than two months, because it's the only way to insure he'll get to play a full senior season. Because amateur sports is totally about the education.
Rosenberg, a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 16 PPG game last year en route to being named first-team All-Ivy League, fractured a bone in his foot during practice two weeks ago. It's expected to keep him off the court for six to eight weeks, or most of the Lions' non-conference schedule. In the rest of D-1, Rosenberg would merely take an injury redshirt and allow him to play next season. But in the Ivy League, there is no redshirting.
Following enrollment, Ivy athletes are expected to use their four years of eligibility in their first four years as enrolled full-time students.
Student-athletes can request a leave of absence to extend eligibility to a fifth calendar year, but need to meet with an academic adviser to demonstrate that such an action would be in line with academic and career goals, and is not the result of pressure from coaches or other athletics staff. The student-athlete would then need to get a waiver approved by the conference.
So Rosenberg has dropped out of school, and will just re-enroll at Columbia next year. It's exactly what two of Harvard's best players did after getting caught up in a 2012 cheating scandal.
The Ivy League loves to tell you that it's different than other conferences because it doesn't give out athletic scholarships. That's a technicality; basketball teams are stocked with players on full-ride non-athletic scholarships, despite athletes being judged by lower admissions standards than the rest of the student body. (To say nothing of when a program decides to bend its standards even further for the best athletes, as appears to be the case for Harvard's mini-dynasty in recent years.)
But as pointed out by the Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg, so Alex Rosenberg's self-exile from school and from basketball actually plays into Columbia's plans. In 2015-16 season, Rosenberg and the Lions' two other top scorers will all be seniors—and the core of that Harvard powerhouse will have graduated. Rosenberg is functionally redshirting for both of the reasons non-Ivy athletes redshirt, and all he has to do is give up a full year of attending classes.