NCAA Denies Russell Harrison's Waiver to Play Final Season at Oklahoma State

NCAA Denies Russell Harrison’s Waiver to Play Final Season at Oklahoma State

UL-Monroe transfer Russell Harrison will not play for the Cowboys this season after the NCAA determined he has exhausted his eligibility.

Harrison appealed the NCAA’s ruling, according to sources, but that appeal was denied. He was able to enter the transfer portal, sign with Oklahoma State and report to Stillwater this summer before being ruled ineligible.

“I’m disappointed for the kid and will continue to help him in any way I can,” OSU coach Mike Boynton told PFB. “He was a pleasure to be around this summer. He’s got a great spirit. I know he will continue to find success in his life and for his family.”

The situation has to do with Harrison’s five-year clock. Once a student-athlete enrolls at any college as a full-time student, the student-athlete has five years to play four seasons of competition. The COVID-19 pandemic made that rule murky with athletes being given an extra year of college eligibility. But after a student-athlete’s clock starts, it doesn’t stop “even if you spend an academic year in residence as a result of transferring; decide to redshirt, if you do not attend school or even if you go part time during your college career,” according to the NCAA.

Harrison’s journey to Stillwater was a long one. Originally from Lubbock, he started his collegiate career at NAIA Wayland Baptist in the 2016-17 season. Undisclosed personal reasons forced Harrison to miss the next two seasons. The second of those seasons is what Harrison attempted to appeal for a waiver, according to sources.

Harrison reappeared at Clarendon College, a junior college in west Texas, for the 2019-20 season. After earning NJCAA All-America honors at Clarendon, Harrison spent two seasons at UL-Monroe, where he averaged 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game before entering the transfer portal as a grad transfer. He committed to OSU this offseason and was able to make it to campus for summer workouts before this news hit.

Listed at 6-foot-7, Harrison would’ve provided a 3-point threat to the Cowboys’ offense this season. He hit 38% of his 3s with UL-Monroe last season while averaging 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. OSU is in need of 3-point shooting after shooting a Big 12-worst 29.5% from deep in 2021-22.

It’s a crummy situation for a student-athlete who grinded through NAIA, JUCO and low-major basketball for the opportunity at one season at the high-major level. It’s made all the more crushing considering how lenient the NCAA has been with waivers since the pandemic and wider use of the transfer portal.

If there is some sort of silver lining to this for OSU (grasping at straws), it’s that OSU will likely now eat two of its three lost scholarships this season because of NCAA sanctions spawning from the FBI’s probe into college hoops. The flip side of that is that the Cowboys are now down to 11 scholarship players before the season has even started.

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