Ray Kasongo, an incoming Oregon Ducks basketball freshman forward, has been denied admission by the school and is already eyeing other schools, according to a report Wednesday morning, dealing a blow to UO's plan for a young and talented frontcourt this upcoming season.
Greif goes on to say that five-star point guard JaQuan Lyle has not yet been granted admission to the University. That's not to say that he won't, but there is obviously some sticking point at this time.
While the University of Oregon has greatly increased their admissions requirements over the past decade, exceptions have long been made for student athletes, as they are at most schools. In my time covering UO and following the program as a fan, I cannot remember a recruit in any sport being denied admission.
Without Kasongo and the three players who were removed from the program earlier this summer after a sexual assault investigation, the Ducks are left with a projected nine scholarship players for next season. Should Lyle not be grated admission, that would be eight.
While coach Dana Altman may pick up a transfer or two before basketball starts, he will play the upcoming season well below the allotted scholarship level of 13. And while I certainly wouldn't characterize this situation as his fault, he brought a player on campus under investigation for sexual assault, only to see it blow up in his face. He also had to know about the issues that have caused the admissions problems for Kasongo and Lyle.
I have loved the on-court play of Dana Altman's teams. But he has always had a hodgepodge, vagabond roster at Oregon. He has earned the right to have the opportunity to fix this mess, but can't afford any more slip ups. Two straight NCAA trips are being overshadowed by roster instability and really bad press. If he doesn't reverse those two trends, even winning may not keep the fan base on his side.