The FIU men’s basketball team’s 6-2 start sits in jeopardy while school officials review whether or not starting point guard Raymond Taylor is eligible.
Taylor was pulled from the lineup before FIU’s Thursday night 82-67 win at Bethune-Cookman after the school informed the coaching staff that there was a question regarding Taylor’s eligibility. If Taylor is found to be ineligible, FIU might have to vacate the four wins in which he played.
After the 2011-12 season, Taylor, then a point guard at Florida Atlantic, declared he would enter the NBA Draft in March. According to that year’s NCAA Manual, he had until April 10, 2012, the first day of the spring signing period, to withdraw. The NBA included Taylor when it released the 2012 draft’s early entry list on May 3, 2012. Taylor was the only college player listed as having withdrawn on June 20, 2012.
Soon after, Taylor transferred to FIU, where he sat out the 2012-13 season under the NCAA’s transfer rules. He started FIU’s first seven games, averaging 12.2 points and 6.2 assists per game.
A Friday afternoon statement emailed to the Miami Herald from FIU’s media relations department read:
“Late Thursday afternoon, the University received information related to men's basketball student-athlete Raymond Taylor's eligibility status. As a result of the information presented, the University has elected to withhold Ray from intercollegiate competition until the impact, if any, this information has on his eligibility status can be determined. A review is being conducted and will conclude as quickly as possible. Given that the issue involves student-athlete eligibility, there is no further information that we can provide at this time.”
Clearing players’ eligibility falls under the Compliance Department, which doesn’t fall under the Athletic Department, but works closely with it. FIU recently fired Val Sheley, the director of compliance from 2010 through last month, an action anticipated in the athletic department well before Taylor’s situation came to light.
Two key positions in compliance, director and assistant director in charge of Academic Profess Rates, now sit open. The men’s basketball team plays this year under a ban of all postseason play as punishment for two years of substandard APR.
Also possibly having eligibility concerns is women’s basketball team center Marita Davydova, a third team All-Sun Belt player last season. Davydova hasn’t dressed for any games this season, was left behind for FIU’s three road games and isn’t injured. When she didn’t play in the season opener, FIU coach Cindy Russo said twice it was “coach’s decision.”