TUSCALOOSA — One day before it was set to open its regular season, Alabama's men's basketball team received the news it's waited nearly a week for: five-star freshman Collin Sexton is eligible.
Of course, the McDonald's All-American point guard won't be immediately available.
Sexton must serve a one-game suspension for an unspecified "violation of NCAA rules," meaning he'll miss Friday's season opener against Memphis, but will be available to begin his Crimson Tide career with next Tuesday's home opener against Lipscomb, according to a statement released by first-year Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne on Tuesday evening.
“Collin Sexton will sit out of Friday’s season opener against Memphis to serve a one-game suspension for a violation of NCAA rules," Byrne's statement said. "He will be eligible for competition in the team’s home opener on Tuesday versus Lipscomb. We appreciate the NCAA’s efforts to reach a timely resolution of his eligibility.”
This news comes six days after Alabama declared Sexton ineligible while it awaited word on its petition to the NCAA for Sexton's reinstatement amid speculation that he was indirectly connected to the ongoing FBI federal investigation into college basketball.
Questions into Sexton's eligibility came a month and a half after the resignation of former Alabama associate athletic director for men's basketball Kobie Baker, who stepped down Sept. 27 after an internal review of the program brought to light his potential connection with financial advisor Rashan Michel, one of 10 individuals indicted at the center of the FBI’s probe.
Sexton, who is the prized jewel of Alabama's highly touted 2017 signing class that also features a trio of four-star instate products, joined the Crimson Tide on Thursday for its trip to Annapolis, Maryland ahead of Friday's Veterans Classic doubleheader at the Naval Academy, where Alabama is set to play Memphis at 5:30 p.m. CT.