LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -The NCAA granted an unprecedented waiver to Texas Tech center Esmir Rizvic on Monday, allowing him to remain eligible for an additional half season.
Rizvic missed the second half of last season after his eye socket was fractured by an opponent's elbow. The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee ruled that he should have the opportunity to play the number of games he sat out.
The committee had never granted an athlete a partial season of additional eligibility because of an injury, said Kevin Lennon, the NCAA's vice president for membership services.
The unique circumstances of Rizvic's situation resulted in the committee's decision to grant the waiver, Lennon said. The opposing player, Oklahoma's Longar Longar, was assessed an intentional foul and suspended two games by the Big 12 for the elbow in the conference opener on Jan. 5. The severity of the injury was also taken into account, Lennon said.
Rizvic will be allowed to play the half season during his fifth year of eligibility, which would come during the 2008-09 season. NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Rizvic is expected to play the second half of that season. The games he plays must be consecutive - he must play either the first or second half of the season.
To calculate how many games constitute 50 percent of the season, the school must count all regular-season contests and the one conference tournament game it is guaranteed of playing. If Tech competes in an elimination tournament like the NIT Season Tip-Off that year, it will count only the contests in which it actually plays.
The 7-foot, 252-pound Rizvic started 11 games and averaged 3.8 points last season. He transferred to Tech from a junior college in Florida in 2006.
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