The NCAA denied Donte Hill's appeal for an extra year of eligibility, effectively ending the Old Dominion player's college career, the school announced Wednesday.
Hill, a 6-foot-4 wing from Virginia Beach, led the Monarchs in minutes played last season and would have been their most experienced player as they embarked on their first season in Conference USA.
"I am very disappointed by the NCAA's decision to deny my appeal, as I was hopeful there would have been reconsideration for my case," Hill said in a statement released through the athletic department. "I am very appreciative of the efforts on my behalf by Old Dominion. I enjoyed my time here and I will be a Monarch forever."
At issue was a preseason scrimmage in which Hill played October 2010 when he attended Clemson, before transferring to ODU. NCAA rules stipulate that any competition in which a player represents his or her school counts toward a player's eligibility.
Though Hill did not suit up for Clemson in a game during the first semester of the 2010-11 season before transferring, he still lost a year's eligibility.
He and ODU's coaches were aware of the rule and knew that he would have to petition the NCAA for a waiver in order to play his senior year. New coach Jeff Jones was aware of Hill's situation when he took the job.
"All through the entire process I tried to guard against being too optimistic," Jones said. "But I hoped that there may be a chance. Honestly, I was more disappointed this time than when they initially ruled him ineligible.
"Maybe that's because I've gotten to know Donte better in the last couple of months and spent more time with him. I have a great deal of respect for him and what he's done here. He's a terrific young man and we would have been a better team with him."
Hill started 28 of 30 games last season and averaged a team-high 30.8 minutes per game. He was fourth in scoring (8.2 points per game) and second in assists (86).
Hill would have been one of only two seniors, along with 7-footer Anton Larsen. The Monarchs' most experienced players next season will be redshirt juniors Richard Ross and Dimitri Batten.
Hill's presence wouldn't have addressed the Monarchs' size issues. Larsen is the tallest player, but a career reserve, and ODU's next-tallest players are the 6-7 Ross and 6-7 incoming freshman Denzell Taylor.
"We have one fewer good player," Jones said. "That means everybody else will have to shoulder a little more of the load."
ODU now awaits word from the NCAA on whether transfer Trey Freeman will be granted a waiver allowing him to play immediately. A Virginia Beach native, he spent his first two years at Campbell, where he was Big South Rookie of the Year as a freshman and second-team all-conference as a sophomore.
But he transferred to ODU in order to be near his ailing mother. The NCAA sometimes will waive the requirement that transfers must sit out a year in the event of family distress.
Former Monarch DeShawn Painter was granted a waiver last year and played his senior year at ODU. The Norfolk native transferred from N.C. State to be near his ailing grandmother, who helped raise him.Copyright © 2015, CT Now