The NCAA finally did the right thing and granted Orlando Sanchez of St. John’s a waiver to play in the 2013-14 season.
St. John’s announced the news on Twitter after it had submitted new information to the NCAA through its attorney, Robert Orr, on Monday.
“It’s big news,” Sanchez said. “I can play next year. I’m so happy. I’m going to call my grandma right now and tell her the great news. I’m going to tell them ‘I’m free. I can play.’ I’d like to thank my lawyer Robert Orr, Coach Lavin, the entire staff, to our fans as well, my teammates and everybody; thank you very much.”
“We are pleased with the NCAA’s decision to grant Orlando Sanchez a year of eligibility,” Johnnies coach Steve Lavin said. “We are grateful that he will be able to contribute on the court next season, as well as pursue his dream of earning his college degree. We are proud of how Orlando demonstrated patience and grace during this process”
Sanchez, 24, was declared ineligible to start the season and as first reported last month by SNY.tv, the case was considered “closed…and final” by the NCAA.
But after receiving the new documentation Monday — and amid a wave of press coverage of the case — the NCAA reversed course.
“I am delighted to receive this good news for Orlando and St. John’s,” Orr said. “It is the right decision and I’m appreciative of the NCAA staff working with us in order to reconsider the waiver request. I’d like to thank the St. John’s administration and Coach Lavin for reaching out to me and the PoynerSpruill law firm to assist them in working on Orlando’s case. They’ve been a great help. And finally, I also very much appreciate the interest in Orlando’s story demonstrated by the media. He’s an outstanding young man and it’s always gratifying to see the right decision made.”
St. John’s is now at its full capacity of 13 scholarships for what should be a deep and experienced team next season.
They theoretically don’t have a scholarship to give to, say, Rysheed Jordan should he choose St. John’s over Temple and UCLA.
But things could evolve if anyone on the current team leaves by going pro or transferring. It’s also possible a current player could elect to become a walk-on, thereby opening up a scholarship for another player.