The final verdict brought closure — but no relief.
After months of waiting, KU sophomore receiver Justin McCay’s eligibility waiver request appeal was denied Wednesday by an NCAA subcommittee. The decision came weeks after the NCAA denied McCay’s original request for a hardship waiver that would have allowed him to play this fall after transferring from Oklahoma in January. McCay, a 2010 graduate of Bishop Miege, must sit out this season and will be eligible to play as a junior in 2013.
According to Kansas coach Charlie Weis, the NCAA informed the school that, “there wasn’t that one catastrophic event evident to rule in his favor.”
While the reasons for the hardship waiver have been kept mostly private by KU coaches and staff, much of the argument stemmed from McCay’s desire to be closer to family in Kansas City. In 2009, The Star reported on the adversity McCay faced while he was still in high school at Miege, including the death of his father, Robert.
“I’m extremely disappointed that common sense did not prevail,” Weis said in a statement. “I have read all of the information on this case and it is a shame that this case resulted in a rejection. I cannot release all of the details of Justin’s case as it would be an invasion of his privacy.
“I can only say that the University of Kansas felt the evidence was overwhelmingly in his favor. I also do not understand why the NCAA had us appeal this case to the subcommittee only to have received the same answer with the same rationale.”
Following the Kansas spring game last Saturday, Weis continued to be optimistic that the appeal would be granted.
According to KU, the NCAA had informed the school that it could not approve the initial eligibility waiver request based on the guidelines NCAA staff is required to follow. But the NCAA also recommended that KU go to the subcommittee for legislative relief for an appeal, suggesting that the subcommittee may have the authority to ignore certain waiver guidelines.
In the end, it didn’t matter.
“This is a very disappointing day for me and my family,” McCay said. “I was very hopeful throughout the process that I would receive a more favorable result, but unfortunately that is not how things turned out.”
McCay, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver, was an All-Metro selection during his senior season at Miege, where he played under current KU offensive line coach (and former Chief) Tim Grunhard. McCay redshirted at Oklahoma in 2010 and played sparingly as a redshirt freshman last season.
His presence would have perhaps added an outside deep threat to a receiving corps stocked with possession receivers. But Weis has remained optimistic about the depth at receiver. Seniors Daymond Patterson, D.J. Beshears and Kale Pick provide plenty of experience, while junior Chris Omigie and sophomore JaCorey Shepherd will also have a chance to battle for playing time. In addition, Josh Ford, a juco transfer, will arrive this summer.
As for McCay, the NCAA’s decision isn’t the end of his career. But because he redshirted at Oklahoma, he will lose a year of eligibility and have two years remaining when he becomes eligible next season.
“Despite the disappointment I am feeling today, I have no regrets,” McCay said. “I am very happy to be at Kansas and I am going to go out and work hard every day to be the best teammate I can be. Even though I won’t be playing in games this year I am going to take advantage of every opportunity I have to improve as a player.”