Keith Carter’s fight to continue his college basketball career finally came to a close on Friday afternoon when his appeal for another season was officially denied by the NCAA.
Breaking -- Final NCAA appeal has been denied. Keith Carter's college career is over. All because of 39 minutes as a freshman. #HLMBB— Paul Oren (@NWIOren) July 8, 2016
Valparaiso had attempted to get Carter another year of eligibility previously, but the NCAA also denied that request and the subsequent appeal.
The argument for Carter receiving another year stems from his brief time at Saint Louis. A highly touted recruit coming out of Proviso East High School outside of Chicago, Carter committed to play for Rick Majerus and the Billikens. However, Majerus stepped down as head coach before Carter ever played at Saint Louis and passed away during Carter’s freshman season.
Furthermore, Carter suffered an injury early on as a freshman. Rather than sitting the remainder of the year and redshirting, he played sparingly in a few games before deciding to transfer:
Carter transferred to Valparaiso in the middle of his freshman season. He was then required to sit for a full year, and did not take the court for the Crusaders until he was already a second-semester sophomore.
The central arguments for Carter’s appeal likely focused on the unexpected hardship of his coach passing away and that Carter only played a handful of minutes as a freshman. Had Carter not taken the floor after his injury his freshman year, he may very well have received the extra year of eligibility. He also could have redshirted during his sophomore season, but played in the second semester, hurting his argument.
The NCAA's verdict puts Valparaiso in an interesting position. Having learned from the situation it was in one year ago when Vashil Fernandez received an extra year of eligibility, Valparaiso saved a scholarship for Carter to return. With the denial of the appeal, the Crusaders have one scholarship remaining for the 2016-17 season. It might be difficult for them to fill that scholarship prior to the start of the season, but it opens up some recruiting possibilities late this summer or room for a transfer come the fall.
On the court, Valparaiso will have to move on without the guy it hoped to start at point guard. Lexus Williams played that role for the Crusaders much of his freshman season in 2013-14 before injuries sidelined him the next season, when Carter took his place.
Williams returned to the floor last season, coming off the end of the bench. If he has progressed enough from his previous injuries, he will likely be reinserted into the rotation at point guard.
Outside of Williams, Valparaiso has junior Max Joseph and incoming freshman Micah Bradford in the backcourt. Shane Hammink also picked up minutes at the point last season for the Crusaders when Carter needed breaks.
Now, without Carter, it's time for one of those guys to step forward and fill the void.