Jordan Mickey, a key piece of LSU’s heralded basketball recruiting class, is in limbo after the NCAA deemed him a non-qualifier, according to a report Thursday by ESPN.com.
Mickey, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound recruit, was a consensus top-50 prospect, but he was informed he would not be able to play at LSU because of academic issues at Prime Prep Academy, a charter school in Dallas operated by former NFL star Deion Sanders.
Mickey, who was rated the No. 41 recruit in the country by Rivals, transferred to the school before this past season, following coach Ray Forsett from Grace Prep, and was one semester shy of graduating, according to ESPN. In January, the school reported it had completed the necessary certification process: In a posting on its website, it said “prospective student athletes are eligible for individual review through the NCAA initial eligibility process.”
Two months earlier, in November 2012, the school pulled out of Texas’ University Interscholastic League after several players, including Mickey, were ruled ineligible after transferring for athletic purposes. The school played as an independent but finished 37-2 and ranked No. 6 nationally in USA Today’s Super 25.
Forsett did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
LSU could not comment on Mickey either. If he remains a non-qualifier, his national letter of intent would be void and his recruitment would reopen. LSU head coach Johnny Jones and assistant David Patrick were on the road recruiting Thursday, and fellow assistant Charlie Leonard was in Baton Rouge.
Under Southeastern Conference guidelines, the status of a non-qualifier mirrors NCAA guidelines, and the player is not allowed to receive financial aid nor practice with the team. The NCAA ruling typically means a prospect is short of core course credits or shy of the requisite GPA.
Mickey, who ESPN reported plans to appeal, could still attend LSU but would have to cover the cost of tuition, room and board and miscellaneous expenses on his own. If Mickey makes it to LSU, he still could play four seasons in five years under NCAA bylaws as long as he completes 80 percent of his degree requirements before his fifth year of college.