What Dezmine Wells’ Waiver Clearance Could Have Meant for Maryland
The sophomore was kicked off the Xavier Musketeers after a sexual-assault allegation in which a grand jury declined to prosecute. He chose to resume his college playing career with the Terrapins and attempted to get a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play this season and not have to sit out. The chances of receiving that waiver was thought to be unlikely, but head coach Mark Turgeon told CBSSports.com that the school intends to appeal the decision.
The 6-foot-5, 215lbs swing-man averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebound as a freshman and earned the reputation for being a tough, do-it-all type player. He exploded for a double-double in a 67-63 win against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, with 14 points and 11 rebounds, proving his true potential.
Adding Wells would have significantly upgraded a roster that is already featuring 7-footer and potential 2013 lottery pick in Alex Len, guards Nick Faust, Pe’Shon Howard and a freshmen class that is expected to contribute right away. Maryland would have instantly jumped from a team that could have been a contender in the ACC, to a team that is definitely a contender.
The decision to deny Wells’ eligibility this season is certainly a questionable one. Prosecutor Joe Deters almost immediately dismissed the case, even requesting that Xavier reconsider removing Wells from its program. Deters believes things never should have gotten to a point where Wells reputation was questioned because he did nothing wrong.
If the prosecutor says Wells did nothing wrong then why should he be punished and forced to sit out? The NCAA should allow Wells to put the incident behind him after Xavier acted before the facts were presented. He should be allowed to suit up for the Terrapins and move forward in life.
The transfer rules were designed to prevent good players from leaving small schools to join bigger ones. Wells was wrongfully expelled from Xavier and is simply looking to continue his NCAA career. Why make someone sit out when he never wanted to leave the school in the first place?
His appeal will most likely be denied because chances are the NCAA won’t come to its senses.
However, there is little doubt that if Wells was allowed to play this season, then the ACC would have had a new serious title contender.