MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Junior college transfer Jonathan Holton, his eligibility in limbo since enrolling at West Virginia in late August, won’t be allowed to play this season, according to coach Bob Huggins.
The NCAA denied Holton’s waiver request to play this season, Huggins announced Thursday night, meaning the forward can only continue to practice with the team this season. Presuming the 6-foot-7 forward continues to keep pace with his coursework, he will still have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2014-15 season.
“I know Jonathan is disappointed by not being able to compete this season,” Huggins said in a statement released by the university. “But he has had a terrific attitude in practice and will use this redshirt season to work on his game and become a better basketball player. We look forward to Jonathan having two full seasons of eligibility remaining.”
Holton, who was expelled from Rhode Island after a stellar freshman season, transferred to Palm Beach (Fla.) State Community College as a sophomore but had not earned his two-year degree at the time he enrolled at WVU.
Huggins has been reluctant to discuss any details of Holton’s case, citing academic privacy issues, so the announcement resigns WVU to using its nine scholarship players the rest of the way. The Mountaineers (10-5, 2-0 Big 12) had been holding out hope of adding Holton’s rebounding and interior defense to the current rotation as the meat of the conference schedule approaches.
After Holton posted 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a freshman at Rhode Island—earning Atlantic 10 All-Rookie honors—he was arrested on charges of video voyeurism when two female students said he secretly recorded their sexual encounters and posted the videos to Facebook. Holton was dismissed from the school in March 2012 and eventually pleaded no contest to one count of the felony charge in May 2013. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to undergo mental health counseling.
Holton has been prohibited from having contact with the victim. Any violation of his probation could subject Holton to the maximum felony punishment of up to three years jail time.