James Southerland’s eligibility hearing is scheduled for 1:00 PM today, Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting. Waters says that while the hearing is set for today, it is unknown when a decision will be handed down.
While Southerland’s appeal will be heard today, it’s unknown how long the hearing panel will take before delivering its decision. According to a source familiar with how the process has worked in prior cases, it could be a couple of hours or less; and it could take a day or two.
My biggest issue with this whole thing is the amount of time it has taken to hear this appeal. It is tough to be a critic without knowing exactly what the story is behind the suspension, but with previous precedents being set, I don’t understand why it has taken the University so long to hear his case. We do know that Southerland’s issue is academically related, and in comparison to some previous cases of problems both on and off the court, this has taken forever.
Eric Devendorf had an off the court issue that involved going to a hearing that eventually led to a one game suspension for a game at Memphis. Fab Melo had an off the court issue prior to the season, followed by an academic issue during the season, and only missed one regular season game before being declared ineligible again for the NCAA tournament. Both of these instances with players were dealt with much quicker than the Southerland case, and I can’t even imagine how frustrating that must be for James.
If there is one positive way to look at this thing, it is that the University is being very thorough throughout this whole process. With the amount of time it has taken the school, I don’t see any way Southerland can be reinstated and then yanked again in the postseason. And while we may not know the exact story behind this eligibility issue, by all accounts we have heard that James’ grades are in good academic standing. If there were an isolated incident like many seem to think, I don’t see how Southerland could land a favorable ruling and be declared ineligible again.
Whether or not he gets that favorable ruling however, is still up in the air. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.