University of Miami

UM forward Dewan Hernandez loses appeal, declared ineligible by NCAA

Miami Hurricanes forward Dewan Hernandez looks on before the start of an NCAA college basketball game against the NC State Wolfpack at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables on Thursday, January 3, 2019
Miami Hurricanes forward Dewan Hernandez looks on before the start of an NCAA college basketball game against the NC State Wolfpack at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables on Thursday, January 3, 2019 dsantiago@miamiherald.com

University of Miami forward Dewan Hernandez lost his appeal and was declared ineligible for the season by the NCAA, just hours before the Hurricanes’ conference opener against 18th-ranked North Carolina State.

Hernandez, a junior and the team’s leading big man last season, sat out the first 12 games of the season while the university and the NCAA reviewed his eligibility. His name surfaced in court documents related to the FBI investigation of shoe companies’ influence on college basketball. One of the defendants in the case, an agent runner named Christian Dawkins, mentioned Hernandez’s name in an e-mail in which he detailed plans to pay prospective pro players.

“I disagree with the determination made by the NCAA,” said Hernandez’ attorney, Jason Setchen. “In my opinion, they have implied facts and drawn conclusions without sufficient support in the record to justify such conclusions. It is very unfair to Dewan. I am discouraged by the decision. I genuinely believed they’d treat him fairly and reinstate him. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

“Coach [Jim] Larranaga and his staff were very supportive throughout the process. I am grateful that they stood by Dewan.”

There is one final appeal Hernandez can make, but he might choose to turn pro immediately and play overseas or prepare for the NBA Draft.

The Hurricanes (8-4) have sorely missed Hernandez all season. A season-ending injury to backup center Deng Gak means the UM team has been playing with a seven-man rotation.

Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and has been the University of Miami basketball beat writer for 20 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.
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