Ohio State Forward To Miss 12 Games

Ohio State and the NCAA Eligibility Center have come to the joint decision that Nikola Kecman, a sophomore on head coach Thad Matta's men's basketball team, will sit out the first 12 games of the upcoming season because of a violation involving amateur certification.

The Ohio State department of athletics announced the suspension Monday.

Kecman, a 6-foot-8-inch forward, will be eligible to return for Ohio State's contest at Michigan State Jan. 6.

"This is a temporary setback for Nikola and our team," Matta said in a statement. "We do not feel Nikola has done anything wrong but respect and understand the NCAA rules that apply to this situation. Nikola has worked extremely hard and has made significant contributions to our program in his short time in Columbus. We look forward to his return."

According to Doug Archie, an OSU associate director for compliance who worked with the NCAA during the investigation process, Kecman's eligibility was compromised when he played for a team that was in transition from an amateur team to a professional one.

"Under NCAA rules, any team that provides players with more than actual and necessary expenses is tantamount to a professional team," Archie said. "After consultation with the NCAA Eligibility Center staff, the athletics department concluded that members of the foreign team may have received more than actual and necessary expenses during the transition year."

Kecman was not compensated for playing but was penalized for participating with others considered professional by NCAA standards, Archie said in a university release.

Kecman will not travel with the team but will be allowed to practice while sitting out.

Kecman is a native of Belgrade, Serbia,, and played his freshman season at Eastern Arizona College in 2007-08.

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