NCAA reconsiders, grants NC State's Braxton Beverly waiver to play right away

North Carolina State’s Braxton Beverly poses for a photograph during the school’s media day. (AP)

One month after it initially refused to grant Braxton Beverly immediate eligibility and two weeks after it also denied his appeal, the NCAA has finally reconsidered.

Bowing to common sense and public pressure, the NCAA announced Tuesday that it is granting the NC State freshman a waiver that will allow him to compete immediately.


“Braxton is absolutely thrilled with the NCAA’s decision to make him immediately eligible to compete for NC State this season,” his attorney, Scott Tompsett, said in a statement. “He’ll be suited up and ready to play in tonight’s game against Bryant.

“Braxton wants to thank the NCAA for carefully considering NC State’s Request for Reconsideration and permitting him to play this season. He is very grateful.”

Beverly’s eligibility this season became an issue when Ohio State unexpectedly fired Thad Matta in June after initially giving the longtime coach a vote of confidence after the season. The coaching change led Beverly to reconsider his decision to attend Ohio State and eventually transfer to NC State a month later.

Since Beverly had already enrolled at Ohio State and attended a few weeks of summer classes before Matta’s firing, the NCAA viewed him as a freshman transfer instead of prospect seeking a release from his letter of intent. Therefore the NCAA ruled the four-star point guard would have to sit out the entire 2017-18 season just like any other transfer would.

The NCAA’s decision drew widespread criticism for being needlessly harsh. Beverly essentially lost the right to play this season because he had the nerve to get a head start on his college education and to reconsider what school he wanted to attend after a head coaching change.

The optics of the NCAA ruling were even worse considering it came down on the same day as North Carolina escaped serious punishment for decades of gross academic fraud. Even though the cases were unrelated, the message was clear: Paper classes were fine but going to summer classes was a cardinal sin.

When Beverly’s appeal was denied, new Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts released a statement describing Beverly as “devastated” and calling the situation one “where adults failed a young man, and he’s the one paying the price.” Beverly later hired Tompsett as his attorney and released a first-person version of events expressing his disappointment at not being able to play.

It’s not immediately clear what the new information was that led the NCAA to reverse course on its decision. An NCAA spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Beverly, a 5-foot-11 point guard, is a Kentucky native who spent his final two high school seasons starring at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. He should contribute off the bench at NC State because of his outside shooting and ability to create coming off ball screens.

Among those pleased with the NCAA’s decision is Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, the man whose decision to fire Matta unintentionally left Beverly’s freshman season in jeopardy. Both Matta and Smith have expressed support for Beverly throughout this process.


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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!