45-Day NCAA Window Has Begun for Kentucky Freshman Noel (UPDATED)

The NCAA 45-day window has begun for Kentucky freshman center Nerlens Noel and he has not yet been fully cleared, an NCAA source with direct knowledge of the case told SNY.tv Wednesday.

The source, who is not authorized to speak publicly because the case has not been resolved, added: “The case status is fluid and may change this week.”

“Will it be resolved by Midnight Madness [on Friday]?” the source added. “Or even by the season opener? No one knows at this point. UK is downplaying it publicly but I’m sure they’re a bit concerned.”

Kentucky head coach John Calipari said Thursday at a press conference: “[Noel] will practice. If we played today, he would play.”

Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy said Kentucky will not confirm Noel’s eligibility until the team’s first game. The defending NCAA champion Wildcats open against Maryland Nov. 9 at the Barclays Center, and then play Duke Nov. 13 in Atlanta.

The 6-foot-10 Noel — a projected lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft — is cleared on the academic side but the NCAA is still looking into amateurism issues related to his recruitment.

SI.com reported that the NCAA is looking into how Noel paid for various unofficial visits.

“He’s clear on the academic side,” the source said. “But basically if an incoming prospect clears on the academic side but is delayed in full clearance on the amateurism side, they have a 45-day grace period to practice.”

Here are the relevant NCAA rules:

12.1.1.1.3 Eligibility for Practice or Competition.

Prior to engaging in practice or competition, a student-athlete shall receive a final certification of amateur status based on activities that occur prior to his or her request for final certification or initial full-time enrollment at an NCAA Division I or II institution (whichever occurs earlier). (Adopted: 4/30/07)

12.1.1.1.3.1 Temporary Certification.

If a prospective student-athlete reports for athletics participation before the student’s amateur status has been certified, the student may practice, but not compete, for a maximum period of 45 days. After this period, the student shall have his or her amateur status certified to continue to practice or to compete. (Adopted: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06, for all final certifications for student-athletes initially enrolling at a Division I or Division II institution on or after 8/1/07, Revised: 11/29/09)

Photo: Cal Sport Media

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