COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State sophomore forward Nikola Kecman will sit out the first 12 games of the 2008-09 season in an agreement reached jointly by the NCAA and the university, the school announced Monday.
Kecman played for the Vizura team in his native Serbia as it was making the transition from an amateur to a professional team. The NCAA Eligibility Center determined that Kecman may have received more than "actual and necessary" expenses while playing for the team, leading to his being ineligible for 12 games. Kecman did not receive money to play for Vizura, but was penalized for playing with others who the NCAA considered professionals.
"This is a temporary setback for Nikola and our team," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "We do not feel Nikola has done anything wrong but respect and understand the NCAA rules that apply to this situation."
Kecman will be eligible to play for the first time at Michigan State on Jan. 6. He will not travel with the team while sitting out but will be allowed to practice.
The 6-foot-8 Kecman played his freshman season at Eastern Arizona College in 2007-08.