Basketball player Oliver Prince, recruited in April 2007, and miles from home, found himself possibly unable to accomplish what he came to FAMU to do – contribute to the Rattler team.
The Toronto, Canada native said right before the season started he became aware that he was not eligible to play.
Prince, 24, said the university lost his transcripts, making him ineligible to join the team when the season started Nov. 12.
Marlynn Jones, associate director of athletics, said Prince did not provide all of his official transcripts to the University.
“It’s not that they were lost,” Jones said. “Oliver went to four schools but only provided two transcripts.”
Jones said the academic adviser for the men’s basketball can use unofficial transcripts to determine if a player meets NCAA standards and university requirements, but a student cannot be admitted to FAMU without official transcripts.
Jones said in order to be a transfer student, an applicant must have 60 transferable credits. Because Prince had not submitted all transcripts, 60 hours were not accounted for.
Prince said he had to re-enroll in his classes at FAMU. He said he was frustrated and felt if he was not a student, he should not continue to attend class until his admission process was complete.
“I’m from Canada,” Prince said. “I had to go back to my high school, back to all those other schools and get transcripts again.”
Jones said to her knowledge, Prince was always enrolled in school. She said the athletic department was alerted by the admissions office that it did not have all the necessary documentation from Prince.
Prince attended four colleges and universities before FAMU, including Monroe Community College in New York, Pepperdine University in California, LeMoyne-Owen College in Tennessee and Adams State College in Colorado. Prince took an online course at one of the schools.
Jones said Prince did not provide the transcript for the online course, and many students seem to be confused on that issue. Even if a student did not physically sit in a building for a class, “you actually took it somewhere.”
Jones said she had to help Prince understand that “taking a class online was actually taking it at a school.”
Jones said since then, Oliver has contacted all the institutions and paid fees for the needed paperwork.
After missing the first four games of the season, three of which were losses, Prince said he grew impatient when he could not go on the road with the team.
“The guys were sending me messages, ‘Oliver we needed you out there,’ ” Prince said.
He said he was eager to join the team, and looking forward to being able to contribute in the game against the University of Connecticut.
Harris said he was not able to comment because the issue has since been resolved, but said it was important that all athletes give priority to ensuring academics are in order.
“He’s a very good young man,” said Coach Eugene Harris. “He’s going to help us win some basketball games, but first we want to make sure all our student athletes get quality academic advisement.”
Harris said the presence of 6-foot 6 Prince has made a difference now that he is able to compete with the team.
“He’s an inside player, very physical player,” Harris said in reference of Prince. “More important, he can add depth to your team, better rebounding, fast breaks and you can score a lot better inside.”
Despite a stalled start, Prince is now on track, able to practice with the team and do his part to help improve the Rattlers’ rough beginnings.