ISU, NCAA sparring over Staiger's eligibility
By: Courtney Linehan
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The NCAA responded to reports regarding Iowa State men's basketball player Lucca Staiger on Thursday, saying no decision has been made regarding the freshman's eligibility this season.
ISU announced two weeks ago Staiger, a native of Baulstein, Germany, had been ruled ineligible by the NCAA's Amateurism Clearinghouse. Since then, media outlets including The Tribune, have reported Staiger will be required to forfeit a season of eligibility because two members of a German club team he played for were paid.
"In these press reports, it has been stated that Iowa State has filed an appeal with the NCAA regarding this student-athlete," the release said. "This is not accurate. In fact, the NCAA did not receive the final and complete set of facts of the case from the school until Tuesday (Nov. 6)."
ISU's compliance office told The Tribune last week it planned to submit an appeal this past Monday. In the meantime, Staiger did not participate in either of ISU's preseason exhibitions and was not planning to participate in the Cyclone Classic this weekend.
If he were to compete, ISU understands it would be in violation of NCAA rules.
ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard released a statement in response, saying the Cyclones sent the NCAA an initial statement of facts and two subsequent updates in September and October before the "final statement" was submitted Monday.
"We were surprised and disappointed to learn that the NCAA released a statement challenging press reports on the eligibility status of Lucca Staiger without our knowledge," Pollard said. "The NCAA has been aware of Lucca's (amateur status) situation since May of 2007 and has been working with Iowa State University for the past six months to resolve the situation."
The Clearinghouse was established this year with the intent of weeding out professional and semi-professional athletes playing in the college ranks. This year's freshman class is the first to be subjected to processing through it.
"The NCAA will consider the individual circumstances of this case - as it does with all initial eligibility cases - when considering if or how the student-athlete's eligibility should be impacted," the NCAA statement said.
Staiger said he has not made a decision about whether he will remain at ISU if the NCAA ultimately decides he cannot play at all this season. If that is the case, he will be allowed to maintain his scholarship, but will only be eligible to compete for three seasons.
No timeline has been set for a final decision.
"Our hope is that this situation is resolved in the very near future so that everyone can move forward," Pollard said