Olden Polynice apparently will return to the University of Virginia basketball team for the second half of his senior season, but only after he has undergone intensive counseling and only if he is in good academic standing.
The announcement late Saturday night that Polynice would return to the team completed a 180-degree turn in less than 48 hours.
After being issued a summons Wednesday to appear in court on May 30, when he is scheduled to be charged with shoplifting a $16 stereo headset, Polynice said Thursday night he would forfeit his final year of college eligibility and enter his name into the June 17 NBA draft.
But Polynice apparently changed his mind and sought to discuss the matter with Coach Terry Holland. After at least two discussions with Holland on Saturday -- well before the NBA's midnight deadline for undergraduate declaration -- Polynice reached an agreement with Holland and the school's director of athletics, Dick Schultz.
"In order to be reinstated, he would have to agree to extensive counseling, be in good standing academically and be reviewed by a committee of faculty and administrators not connected with the department of athletics," Schultz said in a statement issued at about midnight Saturday. Polynice would not be eligible to play until January.
The alleged shoplifting incident, which a Rose's department store security guard said occurred Wednesday, is not the only reason Virginia officials are insisting Polynice undergo counseling.
Polynice could have been expelled from school in 1984 after he admitted he turned in another student's English term paper. And at a March 11 practice, he broke the nose of teammate John Dyslin in a scuffle.
"My life has been in turmoil lately," Polynice, a 6-foot-11 center, said in a statement issued Saturday night. "I have been having a lot of personal problems which have resulted in behavior which is unacceptable."
Polynice and Holland were not available for comment yesterday.