University of Miami’s leading big man, Dewan Hernandez, continues to sit out while the NCAA rules on his eligibility after his name surfaced in an e-mail during a court case related to the FBI investigation of shoe companies’ influence on college basketball.
Hernandez has missed the first six games of the season, and there is no word when he will return to the Hurricanes, who are 5-1 and play Rutgers at home Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The NCAA is looking into Hernandez’ relationship with Dawkins, an agent’s runner who detailed in an e-mail plans for monthly payments and other benefits to at least a dozen college players, some of whom have since left for the NBA.
Asked when or if Hernandez will be cleared to play, UM coach Jim Larranaga said: “We don’t know anything. I don’t think there is a timetable. I don’t think the NCAA works that way...you just wait until you hear back from them.”
Larranaga recalled a similar situation in 2011 involving former player DeQuan Jones, who was cleared and reinstated by the NCAA after four months of missed games. Two other players mentioned in the Dawkins email — Lamar Peters of Mississippi State and VJ King of Louisville — are playing, but Miami chose to sit Hernandez until his eligibility is settled.
“We are gathering information and are in regular communication with the NCAA staff,” said UM Athletic Director Blake James. “I am not going to speculate regarding the other two individuals as our focus remains on Dewan and this case. We are working to bring this to closure as soon as possible.”
UM guard Zach Johnson, a high school teammate of Hernandez’s at Miami Norland and a close friend, said “It’s devastating” for Hernandez to sit out. “We’re just trying to be there for him, be a shoulder for him.”