NCAA denies Russell Harrison’s waiver to play final season at Oklahoma State
UL-Monroe transfer Russell Harrison will not play for the Cowboys this season after the NCAA determined he had exhausted his eligibility.
Harrison appealed the NCAA’s decision, sources say, but that appeal was denied. He was able to enter the transfer portal, sign with Oklahoma State and report to Stillwater this summer before being declared ineligible.
“I’m disappointed for the kid and will continue to help him in any way I can,” OSU coach Mike Boynton told PFB. “It was a pleasure to be there this summer. He has a great spirit. I know he will continue to find success in his life and for his family.
The situation has to do with Harrison’s five-year clock. Once a student-athlete enrolls in a college as a full-time student, the student-athlete has five years to play four competitive seasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that rule murky, with athletes getting an extra year of college eligibility. But once a student-athlete’s clock has started, it doesn’t stop “even if you spend an academic year in residence following a transfer; decide to put yourself in a red shirt, if you do not attend school or even if you go part-time during your university career”, according to the NCAA.
Harrison’s trip to Stillwater was a long one. A native of Lubbock, he began his college career at the NAIA Wayland Baptist in the 2016-17 season. Undisclosed personal reasons forced Harrison to miss the next two seasons. The second of those seasons is what Harrison tried to appeal for a waiver, sources say.
Harrison reappeared at Clarendon College, a West Texas junior college, for the 2019-20 season. After earning NJCAA All-America honors at Clarendon, Harrison spent two seasons at UL-Monroe, where he averaged 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game before entering the transfer gate as a than graduate transfer. He committed to OSU this offseason and was able to get to campus for summer practices before this news hit.
Listed at 6-foot-7, Harrison would have provided a 3-point threat on the Cowboys’ offense this season. He hit 38 percent of his 3 with UL-Monroe last season averaging 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. OSU needs a 3-point shot after shooting a Big 12-worst 29.5% from deep in 2021-22.
It’s a crummy situation for a student-athlete who has gone through NAIA, JUCO and minor basketball for the opportunity of a major-level season. It’s all the more overwhelming given the NCAA’s leniency with waivers since the pandemic and the wider use of the transfer portal.
If there’s any kind of silver lining to this for OSU (grabbing straws), it’s that OSU will now likely eat two of its three lost purses this season due to NCAA sanctions stemming from the investigation of the FBI on college hoops. The flip side is that the Cowboys are now down to 11 scholarship players before the season even begins.