Cartwheels. Image via the WaPo.
Our long regional nightmare may just be nearing an end: per Jeff Barker at the Baltimore Sun, Maryland freshman center Alex Len is expected to be cleared by the NCAA to practice "as soon as today."
Olexiy ("Alex") Len, a center from Antratsit, Ukraine, is expected to be approved to play by an NCAA clearinghouse and may be at Maryland's practice as soon as today, two sources told the Baltimore Sun.
The phrasing is a little funny - notice he doesn't say "declared eligible," which makes it sound like he's leaving some wiggle room. Still, it kind of sounds like he's saying Len will be declared good to go pretty immediately ("approved to play"). I'd be careful to make that assumption until we see it in a press release of some kind, but if that's the case, Maryland's season just got a huge boost, for very obvious reasons.
But hold on just a minute, because InsideMDSports is claiming that Len has not been cleared to practice or play yet. Barker is notorious for being pretty conservative, so I'd be surprised if he's off here, but it's still worth a healthy dose of skepticism till we see it officially. At the same time, I can't help but feel like this is a victim of semantic: Barker says he's "expected to be approved", which isn't the same as "already has been approved." We should know pretty soon either way.
When the official word hits, we'll have a new post with some more info. Until then, optimism reigns.