Men's Basketball, Sports, WVU Sports

Josh Eilert not alone in the Big 12 in waiting on a NCAA waiver for a player’s eligibility

MORGANTOWN — WVU interim men’s basketball coach Josh Eilert is not alone in waiting to hear news from the NCAA on a transfer waiver.

Speaking at Big 12 media day Wednesday inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo., Eilert said the school still hasn’t heard a decision on guard RaeQuan Battle and whether he will be ruled eligible this season.

“I really think the NCAA is going to do right by him and he is going to get that (waiver),” Eilert said. “I cross my fingers and I think that is going to happen.”

Battle is a two-time transfer, beginning his career at Washington before transferring to Montana State. As a two-time transfer, he needs a waiver from the NCAA for immediate eligibility.

As it turns out, other Big 12 coaches are in the same boat.

Cincinnati coach Wes Miller confirmed Wednesday that waivers for Aziz Bandaogo and Jamille Reynolds were recently denied. The school is in the process of appealing those decisions, much like WVU tried with Jose Perez last season.

“I think I’ve learned more about this process than I thought I ever would or cared to,” Miller said. “It’ll go to … we submitted an appeal, and it goes to the appeal committee in the NCAA.

“The issue at hand here is that we have two players, and there’s others out there in America, that were given guidance when they were making life decisions last spring to transfer, and they were given guidance and guidelines by the NCAA as a path to play. They felt that they met those guidelines. They made life decisions based on that.”

Life at the Marriott Center

With the addition of BYU this season, there is a new king in the Big 12, at least in arena size.

The Cougars’ Marriott Center lists an official capacity of 19,000, making it the largest arena in the conference.

Up until this season, Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) held that distinction.

BYU’s average home crowd packs a punch, too. The Cougars averaged 13,855 fans during the 2021-22 season, which was 16th in the country.

Expect that number to go up in BYU’s first season in the Big 12.

“We expect that to bump up to 18,000 or 19,000 a game this year,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “Just as an example, season tickets sold out before they were ever available to the public. We have an unbelievable student section in The Rock that is legendary. The Marriott Center is an incredible venue to watch a game, and we have passionate fans.”

Baylor head coach Scott Drew played at BYU in 2011.

“I remember that was an outstanding game, came down to the last seconds and one of the louder places we’ve played in and have played in, period,” Drew said. “Great respect for their fan base and just their game management, how do they things.”

Goodbye Ferrell Center

Speaking of arenas, Baylor will eventually call Foster Pavilion its new home.

The Ferrell Center has hosted the Bears since it opened in 1988. Drew said Baylor could open the new arena by the turn of the New Year.

“One of the best things that I think the state of Texas in general has done is made newer, smaller arenas to make sure the fans were more on top of you instead of so spread out with the bigger arenas that we used to have,” Drew said. “We should have the same thing, fans on top of you, making sure they’re supporting the home team and welcoming the visiting team. We look forward to showing you and everybody else January 2.”

Foster Pavilion was a $185 million project and the arena sits along the Brazos River.

The new arena will sit 7,000. The Ferrell Center’s capacity is listed at 10,347.

Going young

While many schools dip into the transfer portal to build a roster, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton Jr. went slightly in another direction.

His roster this season will include five true freshmen and one redshirt-freshman, nearly half of the roster.

“I think we’ve always been pretty intentional about being who we are and believing in the foundation of our program, being about development,” Boynton Jr. said. “I don’t want to say we were specifically more intentional this year than in any other previous years. We’ve always been really aggressive in the recruiting space, through the high school realm.

“We’ll continue that, because I truly believe that we’re still about making people better. I think our track record of development has been pretty good. It’ll continue to be that.”

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