USC's Balkman Accepted, Begins Class Today

<img src=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/scar/sports/m-baskbl/auto_headshot/p-renaldo_balkman.jpg width=105 height=147 align=left>Columbia, SC - The University of South Carolina received word Wednesday afternoon that freshman Renaldo Balkman's (Tampa, Fla.) appeal has been received and approved by the NCAA Membership Services and the Clearing House. Following this decision, Balkman's application to USC was complete and he was accepted as a full-time student ...

He attended class for the first time on Wednesday and is eligible immediately to participate in intercollegiate competition. He is expected at practice on Thursday.

STATEMENTS FROM COACH ODOM AND BALKMAN FOLLOW

USC Head Coach Dave Odom "I am so happy and relieved that Renaldo Balkman has earned his eligibility and that he stood the course over these difficult days and months. He is a deserving young man who has fought hard because he knows what he wants. He has overcome so much and now he has an opportunity to truly make something of himself as well as making a significant contribution to our team.

"This decision is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a number of people both with USC and outside the University. We owe a debt of gratitude to each one. Thankfully the decision came in time to get Renaldo enrolled in the University's eight week classes which began this week.

"Now the real work begins for Renaldo and for this team. I've asked him to put his struggles behind him and concentrate on being the best student-athlete and person he can be."

USC freshman forward Renaldo Balkman

"Today I am very happy. I have been waiting for my eligibility status to be cleared at USC since last spring. South Carolina is the only place I wanted to be. I was determined to see this through and it has been worth the effort.

"I owe so much to a number of people who helped me through this process. I can't wait to get started * I have a lot to prove."

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