Memphis Tigers Continue Wait on Eligibility Ruling For Michael Dixon

By Bryan Heater
Michael Dixon
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of June, the Memphis Tigers received some big news that Missouri Tigers guard Michael Dixon would be transferring to the Bluff City. Just like when Josh Pastner took a roll of the dice on troubled guard Geron Johnson, Dixon is a high risk, high reward guy. If he is able to suit up for Memphis, Dixon would immediately be one of the best guards on the team and in the AAC.

But, that’s a big if. As many know by now, Dixon was dismissed from Missouri’s team last November after his second sexual assault allegation in three years with investigators citing there was an insufficient amount of evidence to substantiate the allegation. Though he was never charged in either case,  Missouri opted to dismiss him from the program.

Dixon’s case is almost a mirror image of former Xavier Musketeer Dez Wells, who was also accused of sexual assault and kicked off the team. He decided to transfer to Maryland and was granted immediate eligibility after the NCAA felt Xavier acted to swiftly in a case where he was also never charged.

The Tigers put in their case for Dixon to the NCAA towards the end of July and since then, the NCAA has twice asked the program to send over more information on the guard to help make their decision.

If the NCAA rules him eligible, Memphis gets a college veteran who is very explosive and can create shots for himself and his teammates. He had his best year as a junior in 2011-12, in which he averaged 13.5 points and 3.3 assists per game, while helping Missouri to the Big XII Tournament title game and being named the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year. He is also a lockdown defender and was named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.

Dixon would give the Tigers perhaps the best backcourt in the AAC and one of the best in the country. In a nutshell, if Dixon plays for the Tigers this season, he adds even more depth to an already loaded group of guards and would have a great chance to start.

However, as mentioned, all the scenarios with him on the court for Memphis are still ifs. It appears as though he will be granted one more year of eligibility based on Wells’ case, but if he doesn’t get it, Dixon’s days on the college hardwood are over. Him sitting out last year makes him a fifth-year senior, so even if he does play he will only have a year left to do so.

The timetable for the NCAA’s decision on Dixon’s eligibility is closing, so expect a ruling within the next two weeks. For the Tigers, and especially for Dixon, the wait will seem like a lifetime. Patience is a virtue though and the fact that the NCAA has asked for more on him since they filed his case indicates they are taking their time to make sure they make the right decision. Until then, Pastner, fans and the program will keep their fingers crossed that their patience pays off.

Bryan Heater is an AAC basketball and football columnist for Follow him on Twitter, Friend him on Facebook or add him to your Google network.

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