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Orekhova to miss first half of women’s hoops season

Posted Sep 21, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Sep 21, 2011 at 03:18 PM

USF women’s basketball player Inga Orekhova, arguably the top prospect in coach Jose Fernandez’s last recruiting class, must sit out the first half of the 2011-12 season after violating a former NCAA rule prohibiting amateur players from participating on teams that included professionals.

Orekhova, who was born in the Ukraine and raised in Austria, played for the Austria-based club team UBBC APOsport Herzogenburg, which also included her mother, prior to playing college basketball. Though Orekhova received no compensation, the NCAA determined she must sit out 50 percent of her team’s regular-season contests during her first season for violating the rule.

The penalty was originally to be applied during the 2009-10 season, but because Orekhova played in junior college the last two seasons and was not under NCAA jurisdiction, the penalty carried over to her first season with an NCAA program. Orekhova, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, spent last season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and signed with the Bulls in April. USF’s coaches were aware of the looming NCAA penalty during Orekhova’s recruitment.

The NCAA rule has since been changed and amateur players are now allowed to compete on teams with professionals prior to full-time enrollment provided they do not receive compensation. USF’s compliance office looked into a possible appeal for Orekhova in hopes of having the penalty overturned or reduced, but using previous case precedent decided not to submit an appeal.

Orekhova will miss all of USF’s non-conference games and one Big East Conference game. She is eligible to compete beginning with a Jan. 7 home matchup against Georgetown.

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