Michael Graham, who transferred from Georgetown to the University of the District of Columbia last January, will not be eligible to play for the Firebirds this basketball season, UDC Athletic Director Sidney Hall said yesterday.
Although UDC Coach Wil Jones earlier in the day maintained that Graham still was with the team and no decision on his status would be made until grades for the current semester are released in early December, Hall said Graham definitely was ineligible.
"Unless there's something I'm not aware of -- and I think I've researched this to death -- the die has been cast," Hall said. "He (Graham) has been notified and the coach has been notified."
Hall said that since Graham transferred to UDC under academic "conditional probationary status," he was allowed to take only nine hours of classes his first semester. Hall said that a player, to be eligible, must take a full class load (12 hours) for two semesters.
"I'm not sure if he understood that when he came here," Hall said of Graham, who could not be reached for comment.
The earliest Graham could play for the Firebirds is the 1986-87 season, Hall said, although he can continue to work out with the team.
Graham was a standout power forward at Spingarn High School, then went on to Georgetown, where he helped the Hoyas to the national championship in the 1983-84 season. He scored 14 points and had seven rebounds as Georgetown beat Houston for the title.
But his freshman season also was marred by academic difficulties, and on Aug. 30, 1984, Hoyas Coach John Thompson said, "Michael Graham will not play with the team this year," citing Graham's need "to develop greater responsibility and eliminate inconsistencies in his approach to academics." Graham, who is now 22, transferred to UDC during Christmas break last year.
"My concern, all of our concern here, is Michael Graham," Hall said. "He has been through more in his short lifetime than most people in all of theirs."
Hall said he felt Graham could use the time away from the media spotlight to get his life in order.
"There is no use trying to hide anything," he said. "Trying to hide Michael Graham is like trying to hide an elephant in church."