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Kyle Prater eligibility update: July ruling likely

Photo from the Chicago Tribune

by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)

After five long, agonizing months of waiting, hoping, speculating, the Kyle Prater transfer saga has revealed its end point. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that the NCAA will make a ruling in July on Prater’s eligibility for the upcoming season.

From Greenstein’s article:

Northwestern has filed the necessary paperwork with the NCAA, a source said, and school officials are hopeful he will be allowed to play this fall. Without a waiver, Prater would have to sit out the season after transferring from USC.

For closure’s sake, this is entirely good news. It won’t be long before we can talk in absolutes, rather than hypotheticals, about Prater’s impact (or non-impact) on the offense this season. The 6-5, 215-pound wideout gives NU the sort of big, athletic deep threat they’ve lacked for so long, and his addition this season would provide the Wildcats’ already well-stocked, talented receiving corps with another playmaker.

The NCAA granted Amir Carlisle, Prater’s former USC teammate, a waiver allowing him to play this season for Notre Dame after Carlisle’s father found a new job at Purdue University, not far from the Irish's campus. Michigan State transfer De’Anthony Arnett was also granted eligibility after leaving Tennessee, citing family reasons for his decision.

Prater’s claim for a similar ruling is based upon his returning to nearby Maywood, Ill, to care for an ill family member. While it may appear Prater deserves to be granted a waiver, the NCAA is a finicky, perplexing beast with unforeseen motives and unintelligible actions. Every case is unique and the NCAA has denied transfer applications before, so it's no safe bet to assume Prater's appeal will be successful. The transfer rule is designed to forbid players from jumping to contending teams without penalty. Given Prater's move from USC, a preseason national championship contender, to NU, a projected middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team, he is not violating the rule's intended preventive purpose.

Prater’s case is as good as any, yet the length of the process casts an element of doubt over his chances, even after the two aforementioned players received favorable verdicts. Whatever the case, it’s refreshing to know this chronicle will soon reach its long-awaited culmination.