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August 18, 2010

Young loses appeal, will sit out season

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Basketball star Joseph Young of Houston (Texas) Yates will willingly sit out a season - and lose a year of college eligibility - after learning his final appeals to be released from his National Letter of Intent to attend Providence College have been denied.

Young, who helped lead Yates to the top spot in the RivalsHigh Top 100 rankings, was hoping to get out of the letter of intent he signed to play at Providence College because of a desire to stay closer to home and to the ailing aunt who helped raise him.

Providence refused an initial request. Young's family then went to the governing body of the National Letter of Intent program, which denied their appeal on Tuesday.

Young's father - former professional player Michael Young - is upset.

"I'm really disappointed and so is Joseph," Michael Young told Fox 26 sports in Houston. "The NLI (National Letter of Intent) system is crap.

"I think the whole process is unfair."

It may be.

The situation with Young makes Rivals.com basketball analyst Jerry Meyer wonder how long the current NLI system can last in its present form.

"I don't understand why players with recruiting leverage sign Letter of Intents," Meyer said. "If a school decides they don't want you, they are going to get rid of you and/or you are going to have a miserable time being in the program if you have signed."

On the other hand, Meyer said: "If a program wants you and values you, then they are going to take you even if you just sign scholarship papers. That is what Brandon Knight did at Kentucky, and I expect more recruits to adopt that same practice."

Knight, a guard from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest who finished at No. 6 in Meyer's final Rivals 150 for the Class of 2010, never signed a letter of intent to go to Kentucky, protecting his ability to leave if head coach John Calipari did.

The move made news, but it never came into play. Calipari stayed and Knight is now at Kentucky.

Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll did not immediately return message for a comment, but he told the Providence Journal that he feels Young must honor his commitment as the school did to him when it stopped recruiting other players.

"You sign the document and we stopped recruiting other kids," Driscoll told the paper. "It's why there is a national letter-of-intent. It stops other schools from contacting your recruits or kids changing their mind at the last minute."

The Youngs see it differently.

The elder Young, who was a star on the famed University of Houston Phi Slamma Jammma teams of the early 80s, has said his sister helped raise Joseph while he was playing overseas (he spent 14 years playing in Europe after three seasons in the NBA). He said his sister, Michelle Bell, is in need of a heart transplant.

He was surprised to hear the relationship Joseph has with his aunt was not enough.

"They said his aunt, my sister, is not immediate family," he told the station.

Joseph Young said the decision will only make him stronger and that he'll return to the sport better than before.

"I'm fine. I'm good," he told the station. "It makes me stronger and makes me want to get in the gym and work harder."

But the year off certainly will impact his game.

And, Meyer said, may impact Providence's ability to recruit.

"I don't know the details of this situation like those involved in it, but regardless of right and wrong, Providence holding its ground in this situation isn't going to help the perception of the school in regards to recruiting," he said.

Or the perception some may start having about the National Letter of Intent system.

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