Better late than never for Braxton Beverly.
After the NCAA twice ruled him ineligible to play for the N.C. State Wolfpack this season, the freshman guard was granted immediate eligibility around 5 p.m. Tuesday. He played 16 minutes, scoring two points while making 1 of 7 shots, in N.C. State’s 95-72 win over Bryant Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
“I’ve been telling our equipment manager to bring his uniform for every game because I’m a smart coach,” N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. “I knew the NCAA would do the right thing. I’m very grateful for those guys that they came to this decision and gave him the opportunity. I’m excited about him.”
N.C. State spokesman Fred Demarest said the school received word that the NCAA had ruled in N.C. State’s favor on its request to reconsider its earlier rulings that Beverly would have to sit out one season as an undergraduate transfer.
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“We are grateful that the NCAA agreed to reconsider Braxton’s appeal and reversed the original decision, resulting in Braxton’s immediate eligibility,” N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said. “It was the right choice for a young man caught in a difficult situation not of his own making.”
The NCAA released a statement on its official Twitter account, saying, “Based on additional information, NCAA staff reconsidered and granted NC State’s transfer waiver request for Braxton Beverly, allowing him to compete immediately.”
After learning from N.C. State’s compliance staff of the decision, Keatts called Beverly and told him to get ready to play in a game that was just two hours from tipping off.
“When he called me I didn’t believe it at first,” Beverly said. “Don’t start playing with me. It was really great to finally get out there and play my first game. I was 1-for-7. Got the first-game jitters. First college game.”
When the rest of the Wolfpack players learned the news during pregame, they shouted and jumped on Beverly in celebration.
“They all were going crazy in the locker room for me,” Beverly said. “It was great.”
Beverly entered the game with 13:51 left in the first half. The PNC Arena crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Beverly enrolled at Ohio State last May and took summer classes for one month before that school fired basketball coach Thad Matta. Beverly left school and transferred to N.C. State in July. N.C State’s waiver to bypass the undergraduate transfer rule was denied the NCAA in October and the school’s appeal was also denied.
The school hired attorney Scott Tompsett to work on Beverly’s behalf and a request to reconsider the decision was filed last week. According to NCAA bylaws, N.C. State had to file new information which wasn’t initially available in order for the decision to be reconsidered. Keatts said even and Beverly aren’t sure what exactly the new information is that Tompsett provided the NCAA.
“His lawyer handled most of that stuff,” Keatts said. “Most of that stuff was behind the scenes and even myself I don’t know. We are just grateful that it happened.”
On Tuesday, the NCAA informed NC State that it had not only met the threshold that the information was new, but that the denial decision had been reversed to allow Beverly to play immediately.
“Braxton is absolutely thrilled with the NCAA’s decision to make him immediately eligible to compete for N.C. State this season,” Tompsett said in a statement. “He’ll be suited up and ready to play in tonight’s game against Bryant. Braxton wants to thank the NCAA for carefully considering N.C. State’s Request for Reconsideration and permitting him to play this season. He is very grateful.
“Braxton also appreciates the public support he’s received from so many people across the country and the media outlets that have reported on his case. Braxton is ready to compete for the N.C. State Wolfpack!”