Sitting out two games and paying what amounts to a $787.58 fine. That's how the NCAA said heralded University of Kentucky freshman guard John Wall can gain full eligibility.
Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive had said that Wall faced amateurism issues tied to the player's AAU Coach, Brian Clifton. Clifton had also been an agent for FIBA, the governing body for international basketball, while coaching the AAU team that included Wall.
UK announced Friday night that Wall had been certified. But the player will sit out UK's exhibition game against Campbellsville on Monday and the regular-season opener against Morehead State on Nov. 13.
The NCAA ordered Wall to repay the $787.58 incurred as traveling expenses paid by Clifton during an unnamed number of unofficial recruiting visits. The money will go to charity. Wall chose Lexington's Hope Center, which is expected to use the funds for Thanksgiving dinners for the homeless, UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said.
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NCAA spokesperson Gail Dent wrote via e-mail that the repayment amount "is based on the amount of benefits received." Asked how the NCAA determined the number of games Wall had to sit out, Dent wrote that it "is based on the specific circumstances of the case and guidelines set by NCAA members." Dent said she would have to ask whether those guidelines could be made public.
"I'm grateful to have this decision behind me," Wall said in a UK news release. "All I ever wanted was to go to school and play ball with my team. This has been really hard for my mom. And I want to thank her for her support during this process."
In the news release, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart expressed appreciation for the NCAA's "willingness to listen."
UK Coach John Calipari posted on his Twitter feed, "John Wall is a great kid who always tries to do the right thing. And his mother is a great lady. I'm just happy this is behind us."
Campbellsville Coach Keith Adkins said he had mixed feelings about his team not having to compete against Wall.
"From a competitive standpoint, and if this was a regular-season game, I'd be pretty excited," he said. "If you can avoid playing against a guy that's probably one of the better players in the country, if not the best, then, hey, that'd be great.
"From the young man's standpoint and the University of Kentucky and all great fans looking to see him play, I'm disappointed. In a game that doesn't count, you want to play against the best. It'd be fun in a couple years when that kid is running up and down NBA courts, it'd be great to say we played against that kid."
Wall, widely projected as the first player to be taken in next year's NBA Draft, is noted for his speed and ability to get to the basket.
Before knowing Wall would not play against his team, Adkins acknowledged that his team's signature man-to-man defense might not work against the freshman, "I don't think we can keep him in front of us if we play zone," the Campbellsville coach said.
Campellsville point guard T.J. Bishop looked forward to the matchup that now won't happen.
"Oh, that's an extremely big challenge," Bishop said. "It's going to be fun and interesting to see how quick he really is and how good he really is."
Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall sympathized with Wall's predicament.
"It's unfortunate for John he won't be able to play in the game," Tyndall said. "Obviously, you never want to see a young man who loves basketball like he does not be able to play.
"On the flip side, Kentucky has many great players, and I assume someone will step up and fulfill that role for that game."
When asked how good he believed Wall was, the Morehead State coach said, "Everything I've heard — and I've not seen him since the junior year of high school — is he's Derrick Rose-ish. Not quite the shooter like Derrick Rose. But he's a lottery pick after one year. That's the bottom line."
The Raleigh News & Observer contributed to this article.