Barber and the AU basketball coaching staff made the decision in February to petition an NCAA committee to grant the forward a fifth-year of eligibility after he was injured and lost for the season during his junior campaign.
Barber broke a bone in his hand at the start of a Dec. 29th game vs. Towson State and had a pin inserted to help the healing process. The Tigers were hoping to get him back for the last month of the season, but the injury wasn't healed properly to allow that to happen.
"We are still going through that process," Lebo says of the appeal. "It has been a little bit longer than I had anticipated so we are hoping to find out here in the next couple of weeks.
"From all I have heard from people it is a longshot, but there is a new, kinder, gentler NCAA," the coach notes. "In years past, they would have looked at this stuff and if it had fallen outside of the rules they would have declined it.
"It is sad when you see a kid lose a whole year when he is four minutes over for a redshirt," Lebo adds. "He missed the whole conference season. We are hopeful, but we know it is a bit of a longshot."
Barber is a key player for the Tigers as an inside scorer, rebounder and defender.
The 6-7 Barber was off to an impressive start to his junior season when he was hurt. He was leading the nation in shooting, making 72 percent of his field goals. He was Auburn's leading scorer at 13.8 points per game as well as the leading rebounder with 6.9 per contest. He also led the Tigers in blocked shots with 1.3 per game.
Signed by Lebo as a McDonald's All-American out of Manchester, Ga., High, Barber broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and averaged 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. He improved those numbers to 11.3 points per game and 6.6 rebounds as a sophomore.
Under new a new NCAA rule, a player qualifies for a medical hardship redshirt if he plays in fewer than 30 percent of the regular season games.