N.C. State’s Gottfried has message for NCAA: #freerodneypurvis

jgiglio@newsobserver.comAugust 6, 2012 

With Rodney Purvis’ eligibility in limbo, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried has taken the cause to Twitter.

As of Monday evening, Gottfried had used the hash tag “freerodneypurvis” twice since the Wolfpack basketball team left Sunday without the freshman guard for a five-game preseason tour of Spain.

The NCAA is reviewing Purvis’ eligibility. Purvis, a McDonald’s All-American, was a member of the first graduating class from Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh.

Gottfried wrote on his Twitter account Sunday that Purvis has “has worked hard and hopefully he will join us soon.” He ended the tweet with “#freerodneypurvis.”

Gottfried wrote again Monday that “we miss @rpurvs_0” with the same hash tag.

Christopher Radford, an associate director of public and media relations for the NCAA, wrote in an email to the News & Observer that Upper Room Christian Academy is in a status of “extended evaluation” with the NCAA.

“Courses at this school are subject to individual review on a case-by-case basis,” Radford wrote.

The NCAA works with about 30,000 high school programs in the eligibility process. For schools that are new to the NCAA, there are two steps for clearance, according to the NCAA:

1. A systemic view of the overall program, which might involve a review of accreditation, membership in relative athletic associations, state or other authority oversight, quality control measures, integrity of processes, and accuracy of information, amongst others.

2. A review of the courses offered by the program in an effort to determine whether the program’s courses meet NCAA legislation (and could thus be used for initial eligibility).

The NCAA has contacted Upper Room to begin the review process, but it is not known whether the school has responded.

Radford did not elaborate on how long the evaluation would last, but the process is contingent on Upper Room’s cooperation. Based on Upper Room’s response, the NCAA could have follow-up questions and schedule a site visit, if warranted.

Jojuana Long, the school’s principal, did not return several phone calls made Monday. Basketball coach and athletics director Avie Lester also did not respond to phone calls Monday.

The private school in southeast Raleigh opened in 2001 and has students from preschool through the 12th grade. There were 54 students in the high school grades this past academic year.

Purvis repeated the eighth grade, according to his mother, Shanda McNair, but eventually was placed back in the class of 2012. Purvis said in December that he had a grade point average of 3.2.

Purvis, who is expected to start for the Wolfpack in the fall, has taken the news in stride. His Twitter timeline is filled with “freerodneypurvis” retweets. He wrote on Saturday:

“Everybody I’ll be fine Just keep me in your prayers.”

He followed that up Monday with another post: “Miss my team, happy they made it safely.”

Dick Vitale, Gottfried’s former colleague at ESPN, even chimed in on Twitter.

“Just asking (why) has NCAA taken so long to determine status of NC ST’s Purvis?” Vitale wrote on his Twitter account. “This is August - give me a break - not fair to kid or school”

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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