Jeff Thomas declared ineligible by NCAA

Photo By

Georgia State men’s basketball suffered a blow when the NCAA announced Monday that freshman guard Jeff Thomas was ruled ineligible to play this season.

According to a report out of the Norwalk (Ohio) Reflector, Thomas’ mom told the paper that he took a pair of online classes in 2013 at an online high school called The Compass Academy. The school later changed their name to Northpoint Educational Services Center.

The report said earlier this year that paperwork was lost, which would prove that classes were taken to fulfill Thomas’ eligibility requirements with the NCAA. The Reflector also mentioned how the change of the school’s name also raised eyebrows within the NCAA.

The 6˗foot˗5 forward was expected to be a key piece in the Panthers’ puzzle to a Sun Belt championship this season. Head Coach Ron Hunter expected to place Thomas in Georgia State’s starting lineup with R.J. Hunter, Ryan Harrow, Kevin Ware, and Curtis Washington.

Thomas signed with the Panthers during the 2013 early signing period.He previously played for Norwalk High School in Ohio and averaged 18 points and nine rebounds which placed him on the first˗team list for the state.

In an October interview with The Signal, Thomas expected his role to be primarily as a shooter and rebounder and that he would want to learn from R.J. Hunter.

With the NCAA ruling, this will not be the case this season. He will be a redshirt freshman next season with four years of eligibility.

According to a Georgia State press release, they consider the matter closed and have gone through all appeals.

“We are obviously disappointed in the decision,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We will continue to support Jeff as he works toward his degree this year and look forward to him joining the team as a redshirt freshman next year. We consider the matter closed and will continue to work on improving the team every day.”

During Hunter’s regular appearance on WIFN˗FM 1340 The Fan 3’s “Georgia State Basketball Live”, he called the NCAA’s decision “100 percent wrong.” He also expressed his displeasure for the process involving Thomas’ case during a pair of postgame press conferences this season.

The Panthers hope to move forward this season without Thomas taking the court. After finals week is over, the team will hit the road for a matchup against Old Dominion on Dec. 17.