NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Irish forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) will miss the first four games of the regular season during the upcoming 2011-12 campaign due to a misunderstanding in the technicality of an NCAA rule governing seasons of competition that dates back to the 2008-09 campaign.
In his sophomore year ('08-'09), Abromaitis played in Notre Dame's first two exhibition games against Briar Cliff (Oct. 31) and Stonehill (Nov. 9) and then was withheld from competition for the remainder of the season in order to preserve an extra year of eligibility. Under NCAA rules, and specifically Bylaw 18.104.22.168.3, freshman student-athletes are allowed to participate in preseason exhibition contests and still preserve the entire year of eligibility. The Bylaw, however, does not provide the same exception for returning student-athletes in their sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Therefore, Abromaitis technically used a season of eligibility when he participated in those two preseason exhibition contests during that year.
Abromaitis' fifth year of eligibility has been preserved for this season due to an NCAA waiver that took into consideration the Notre Dame men's basketball coaching staff's misunderstanding of the rule and on the condition that he be withheld from the first four regular-season games. Abromaitis will play in both of the Irish exhibition contests against St. Xavier (Nov. 1) and Stonehill (Nov.7), but then will be required to sit out games against Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 12), Detroit (Nov. 14), Sam Houston State (Nov. 16) and Delaware State (Nov. 18). His first game back will be against Missouri when the Irish face the Tigers at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., in the semifinals of the CBE Classic on Monday, Nov. 21.
"This certainly was an unfortunate misunderstanding that I had of the NCAA rule," Irish head coach Mike Brey says. "I discovered that I had misinterpreted the rule midway through the 2008-09 season and immediately reported it to our compliance office.
"The NCAA has been very accommodating in working with us in order to provide Tim with the waiver that will allow him to play this season contingent upon him sitting out the first four games."