There has been discussion on various chat sites and message boards about whether Jodie Meeks can return to UK, should he go undrafted June 25. Wildcat fans will recall big man Randolph Morris entered the NBA Draft, but returned after not hearing his name called on draft night.
Of course, Morris had to sit out 14 games for his flirtation with the NBA. The question remains: can Meeks return to play for John Calipari if he's not drafted?
The answer is yes. DeWayne Peevy, UK's Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, says the NCAA allows players to return to school, as long as that player doesn't do anything to jeopardize his/her amateur status.
In the NCAA Manual, you'll find the answer in Rule 126.96.36.199.1, which is the exception rule for basketball players who enter a pro draft.
"An enrolled student-athlete in basketball may enter a professional league's draft one time during his or her collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by an team in that league and the student-athlete declares his or her intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 30 days after the draft. The student-athlete's declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics."
So, in a nutshell, Meeks CAN return to play for the Wildcats, provided he isn't drafted, doesn't sign any contracts, whether with an agent or for any endorsements, for which he will be paid, and writes Mitch Barnhart a letter asking for reinstatement to UK. All of this must happen within a 30-day time frame.
Of course, Morris had to sit because he had assistance from an outside source when he was entering the draft. Meeks wouldn't have to sit any games if he were to return to UK.
The guess here is Meeks will hear his name called late in the draft. But for now, I'm sure it's fun for Cat fans to speculate and wonder what might happen if Meeks was the starting shooting guard in next year's lineup.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.