Yes, the 5/8 rule will be back in effect for the class of 2003, so at first glance it would appear that if Lee Melchionni goes on scholarship next fall, Duke will have only 2 more scholarships to give (Humphries and Deng or Ebi).
But Melchionni's scholarship does not have to count against next year's limit of 3 scholarships if he is considered a nonrecruited student-athlete. If he begins getting financial aid in the fall of 2003, his scholarship will count toward our total limit of 13. But for the purposes of the 5/8 rule, Duke can choose to begin counting his scholarship in the fall of 2004.
Here's the applicable NCAA rule:
184.108.40.206.1.4 Nonrecruited Student-Athlete Receiving Institutional Financial Aid.
A student-athlete not recruited by the institution who receives institutional financial aid (based in any degree on athletics ability) subsequent to beginning basketball practice becomes a counter but need not be counted as an initial counter until the next academic year if the institution has reached its initial limit for the year in question. However, the student-athlete shall be considered in the total counter limit for the academic year in which the aid was first received.
Even if the NCAA considers Melchionni a recruited student-athlete, Duke can simply delay giving him financial aid until spring semester 2004, and choose to not count his scholarship until the fall of 2004.
Again, here's the applicable NCAA rule:
220.127.116.11.1.3 Recruited Student-Athlete, Aid Received Subsequent to First Year.
A recruited student-athlete (including a student-athlete who was a partial qualifier or nonqualifier) in the sport of basketball who first receives athletically related financial aid subsequent to the student-athlete's first academic year in residence shall be an initial counter for that academic year in which the aid is first received, if such aid is received during the fall term. However, such a student-athlete who first receives athletically related financial aid in the second or third term of an academic year may be considered an initial counter during the academic year in which aid was first received or the next academic year. In either case, the student-athlete shall be included in the institution's total counter limit during the academic year in which the aid was first received.