Like their counterparts across the country, Providence fans have spent much of the offseason fretting over the eligibility of a star recruit. That recruit is incoming freshman Ricardo Ledo, the No. 21-ranked player in the class of 2012, a potential star guard and the lynchpin of Friars coach Ed Cooley's Rhode Island recruiting rebirth. The issue is Ledo's academics, and whether the NCAA Eligibility finds Ledo qualified or less than qualified will have a massive impact on the trajectory of the 2012 Providence Friars.
There is news to report on this front: According to the Providence Journal's Kevin McNamara and our own Andy Katz, while Ledo and PC are still awaiting the NCAA's decision, Ledo has moved into his dorm and began classes Tuesday morning. He was also present at the Friars' team meetings Monday.
This is not necessarily good news. Why? An explanation:
In order for Ledo to be enrolled, the NCAA would have had to already issue a ruling on his status. He has likely been ruled a partial qualifier, meaning he can be on scholarship and go to class for a year but can't practice or play. After a year in residence, he could play beginning next fall. PC has appealed for a waiver on Ledo's behalf and is working with the NCAA for a final resolution on his case. Cooley would not confirm that Ledo is a partial qualifier, however, and refused to speculate on what might happen if Ledo is not fully cleared.
Providence starts school Tuesday and star freshman wing Ricky Ledo still doesn’t know if he’s been cleared yet by the NCAA eligibility center. Ledo went to four different high schools, raising red flags about his transcripts. Ledo was at Monday's team meeting with head coach Ed Cooley and is expected to be in class Tuesday, even though he hasn’t been cleared yet.
Ledo as a partial qualifier is better than the worst alternative -- that Ledo would be ruled ineligible and flatly turned away by the Eligibility Center. It is also (obviously) worse than the best alternative -- that Ledo would be ruled eligible and allowed to begin competing right away this fall. The partial qualifier status dooms Ledo to a year of practice and classroom eligibility without the ability to actually, you know, play basketball.
There is some actual, bonafide good news here. According to GoLocalProv.com, Ledo said that no matter what happens with his eligibility, he is dedicated to the Friars and will attend school at Providence and play as a sophomore if he needs to. That's not nothing.
Still, combined with an offseason injury to the Friars' other highly-touted recruit, guard Kris Dunn, much of the immediate promise of Cooley's timely recruiting haul may be lost, at least for the fall, and maybe for the entire 2012 season. The official public word from the NCAA should arrive soon. Until then, Friars fans will just have to wait. For Ledo, partial-qualifier status wouldn't be the worst result. But it's hardly the ideal one.