On Friday morning, Villanova announced that the NCAA has concluded its review of freshman center Omari Spellman‘s eligibility. The NCAA ruled that the 6-10 big man will not be eligible to compete in the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Spellman (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Thomas More, Conn.) will instead take an academic redshirt year. He will continue practicing with the team and receive his athletic scholarship. Also, he will have four years of eligibility remaining.
“We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” head coach Jay Wright said in a press release. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.
Spellman came as a highly touted forward/center out of high school. He was rated a consensus 5-star prospect and 18th in ESPN 100’s rankings for the Class of 2016.
“We will make a positive out of this for Omari,” Wright said. “He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”
According to NCAA initial eligibility bylaws, a prospective student-athlete must complete their initial eligibility requirements no later than the high school graduation date of his or her class. Despite graduating on time earlier in 2016, the NCAA determined he will be an academic redshirt.
The Wildcats’ front court just got thinner without Spellman. After Darryl Reynolds, they have another freshman center in Hershey (Pa.) native Dylan Painter. The 6-10 center will be the primary backup to Reynolds. Villanova also has 6-foot-8 stretch forward Tim Delaney, who sat out all of last season to recover from hip surgery. Adding to the front court will be another versatile forward, Eric Paschall, who will be making his Villanova debut this season after transferring from Fordham.