It will certainly be interesting to see how things play out, but from the look of things, Maryland should be 3-0 after whipping up on the less-than-formidable Huskies at home. If that happens, second-year Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni will take Edsall's place on the hot seat.
Sam Cassell Jr. has been flagged by the NCAA clearinghouse for courses he took at Notre Dame Prep two years ago. How did this happen to the Maryland freshman, and what will become of him if he's unable to suit up for the Terps?
Matt Bracken: Two types of basketball players end up at prep schools: those who need help academically to qualify, and those who seek more exposure. Cassell absolutely fits into the latter category. Had the West Baltimore native stayed at St. Frances – where he played his junior year after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Towson Catholic – he likely would have had no problem meeting NCAA qualifying standards, according to a source close to the Panthers.
So Cassell did what several other Baltimore high school stars – Cleveland Melvin (DePaul), Kim English (Missouri), Antonio Barton (Memphis) – did before him by enrolling at Notre Dame Prep. When Cassell left St. Frances, he was considered a mid-major recruit. Two years later, the 6-foot-3 combo guard had his pick of high-major options, eventually selecting Maryland over scholarships from Connecticut, Florida State, Pittsburgh and South Florida, among others. Cassell’s primary motivation for spending two years at NDP was landing bigger offers, and that goal was clearly reached.
But thanks to an NCAA crackdown on prep schools, Cassell’s future in College Park is in question. CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported this week that Cassell – and Xavier pledge Myles Davis – were ruled ineligible by the NCAA because they took four core classes at NDP that were later invalidated once the prep school was put on the NCAA’s watch list. Eight of Cassell and Davis’ teammates took the same courses and played as college freshmen during the 2011-12 season.
If that set of circumstances sounds ridiculous to you, I’m going to assume that you aren’t employed by the NCAA. If college sports’ governing body wants to crack down on rogue prep schools, that’s fine. But take the suggestion of Davis’ father and grandfather the rule in so kids like Cassell and Davis aren’t affected. Cassell wasn’t going to be an academically borderline kid, but now he is being treated like one because a prep school that he – and many others – saw as legitimate is now under fire.
I was told that Cassell’s No. 1 priority was getting cleared by the NCAA and playing for Maryland – the program he grew up following and had already become acclimated to thanks to his time spent in College Park over the summer. The Maryland staff planned to do everything in its power to fight for Cassell in his appeal, and the coaches clearly wanted him to be part of this team. But Goodman reported late last night that Cassell's final appeal to the NCAA was denied.
If that report is true, expect Cassell to end up at a mid-major-plus program where partial qualifiers are permitted. It wouldn’t be playing for his hometown school, but there are some attractive options out there for Cassell that would serve as solid consolation prizes. It’s just a shame that something Cassell had no control over will likely cost him his dream.