Tim Abromaitis denied sixth year of eligibility at Notre Dame

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Abromaitis will begin his pro journey immediately now that Notre Dame is off the table. (US Presswire)
Cool story, 'Bro.

That's basically how the NCAA feels about -- or at least reacted to -- Tim Abromaitis' desire to play a sixth season after recovering from an ACL injury last November.

The bummer bulletin of news came late Tuesday, when Notre Dame said the NCAA decided not to give the would-be sixth-year player one final year of eligibility. Reasons? There are no reasons. The NCAA doesn't explain its decision-making in cases like this because, you know, who needs transparency or legible documentation for precedence? Nah, the veil pretties things up plenty for the folks in Indy.

If Abromaitis had been able to come back, Notre Dame could've and probably would've been vaulted into the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one), but alas, that sort of pub and adoration will have to wait until the Irish attempt to prove us wrong next year, just like they did last year on the way to a 22-12 record.

You got another coach-of-the-year season in you, Mike Brey?

The skinny on Abromaitis is this. He sat the majority of last season after tearing his right ACL, seemingly killing Notre Dame's chances at making the NCAAs. (Seemingly.) But his college career also had a run-in with the NCAA after he unknowingly threatened a year of his eligibility by playing in Notre Dame exhibition games during October of his sophomore year, 2008. The NCAA was actually lenient in that case, and only suspended him four games instead of an entire season. That suspension didn't take effect until last season. Then he ripped apart his ACL in a late November practice.

Yeah, rough. But since Abromaitis was already holding an undergraduate and MBA degree, the thinking was that the NCAA would champion one of their ideal and precious student-athletes. Who better to prop up, right? All the while, hopes weren't high. This isn't some huge gaffe by the NCAA; it's just a missed opportunity. The NCAA does missed opportunities well. I believe there's a third-floor wing dedicated to the practice, in fact.

One more layer of perspective on this: a few weeks ago, the NCAA awarded Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe, who was out and out debating going to the NBA, a sixth season following a fifth-year injury. What's the difference? There isn't much.

Abromaitis spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the verdict on Tuesday.

"It's definitely a little disappointing, because obviously I wanted to be able to come back for another year and finish my Notre Dame career on a better note," said Abromaitis, who said he will sign with an agent soon to begin pursuing a professional career.

"But it's not entirely surprising. I kind of went into this thinking it was a long shot from the beginning. We put a pretty good case forward, but I kind of have to live with the decision. I definitely wish it would have gone differently, but it's not entirely shocking."

Abromaitis learned of the decision Monday evening and took a night to decide he wouldn't appeal.

"I decided one rejection would be enough for me," he said with a laugh.
The tango with Notre Dame and the NCAA isn't over yet, though. Sixth-year player Scott Martin is awaiting his judgement from the monolith in the coming days. Martin is a transfer from Purdue who has missed the past two seasons due to injury and the mandated transfer redshirt season. It's believed -- and hoped, to a much more pragmatic degree than Abromaitis' case -- that Martin will be given the go-ahead to play next season.
 
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