NCAA Hands Down Decision On JR Smith's Eligibility To Play College Golf


JR Smith

Photo: Getty Images

Exactly two weeks ago, JR Smith publicly announced that he would enroll at North Carolina A&T University and pursue a degree in liberal studies. Also, the 2016 NBA champion announced that he would join coach Richard Watkins and the university's golf program.

"It's not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to have a thought, a dream, an idea, and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction," coach Richard Watkins said at the time of Smith's announcement.

With the university and its golf program on board, only one thing stood in his way, the NCAA. Smith went straight from high school to the NBA, so he didn't use any of his college eligibility. However, he graduated in 2004 and there was a fear that it would be difficult to find his academic records.

"We're just going through the normal process we would go through with any prospective student-athlete," North Carolina A&T spokesperson Brian Holloway said when asked about Smith's NCAA clearance process.

Fortunately, the challenge of obtaining Smith's high school records was dealt with and he has been cleared to play college golf while pursuing a college degree.

“It was probably one of the most exciting feelings I've had in a while. I really didn't know how it was going to go, but to be able to actually call myself a student-athlete is a great feeling," he said after receiving the news.

The golf season will not begin until the spring which will leave Smith a good amount of time to get acclimated to college. Thus far, he's really enjoying his African Studies class.

“My favorite class I think right now in my life was African Studies is Liberal Studies,” Smith said.

“We’ve had discussions and introductions and I did my first PowerPoint yesterday. My schedule is pretty open, because my classes are online. So, I should get due dates, and I gotta get to work and figure it out.”

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