Clarification of the Scholarship Situation

After reading some of the comments on the previous Lance story, it appears everybody's pretty confused on this front. Here's the situation:

Maryland currently has 13 players on scholarship (that's the limit). When Gus Gilchrist transferred away, we only had 12 scholarship players. The extra was allocated to David Pearman, with the understanding that he'd give it up at the end of the year. All the other players (including Goins and Kim) are on scholarship under normal circumstances.

After this year Dave Neal graduates, and his scholarship will go to Jordan Williams (or Padgett). Then Pearman gives up his scholly voluntarily, and his will go to James Padgett (or Williams). That leaves us with 13 players under scholarship for 2009-10, which means there's no room for Lance Stephenson. Maryland is still allowed to recruit him, but there can be no official offer until a scholarship opens up.

However, it's a near certainty that at least one guy will be leaving at the end of the year. Cliff Tucker is currently the front runner. Some will say last night says otherwise, but he only got major minutes because the deficit was so big; I'll wait and see how the rest of the year turns out. Also, just because he's getting a lot of minutes doesn't mean he can't transfer anyway - he feels disrespected right now, and he'll remember what the past few games felt like. The next best bet is Greivis Vasquez, who very well could go pro to Europe. It's tough to get a read on him, though - I'd say it's 50/50 on staying/leaving. If the season ends poorly, I doubt he'll want to stay for another tough year unless Lance is on his way, which would mean someone else needs to transfer.

Eric Hayes is another option. His play has been lagging, so his playing time probably will, too. He hasn't used his redshirt yet, so I could conceivably see him pulling a Danny Miller and transfer out to play serious minutes his senior year. Dupree seems a popular choice among fans (and a certain blogger). I doubt Brax will transfer, though. Unfortunately, Braxton seems perfectly happy in his current situation (which is part of the problem as to why his play hasn't improved), and it probably won't get much better at any other DI school. I don't think you can cross his name off the list completely, but I'd bet he'll stay.

I have trouble seeing Goins or Kim leaving. I guess Burney is an option, but that also seems like a longshot; we'll have to see what his PT looks like when he's healthy. But with 4 or 5 serious candidates, odds are one of them will leave. The problem will be getting them to make that announcement early enough. Lance will officially commit sometime in March, so whoever's going will have to make their decision before the end of the season.

Also, know that Gary can, in theory, force someone out of scholarship. If he decides Brax isn't worth his scholarship, he can just say, "Sorry, no more scholarship" and take it away, technically. However, very, very, very few coaches would ever consider this, and it seems to be an extremely long shot. It's not exactly the most ethical thing you can do, and his credibility would take a giant shot.

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