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January 26, 2011

It's all over

The Tony Mitchell saga, at least at it relates to Missouri, is over. Sources have told PowerMizzou.com Mitchell is officially headed to the University of North Texas.

Missouri released the following statement from Mike Anderson moments ago:

Missouri Basketball has learned that the NCAA did not clear Tony Mitchell for enrollment at the school.

"I'm very disappointed for Tony and his family," Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "Tony is an outstanding young man, someone that has worked diligently to attend our university. He has shown great resolve during a difficult situation and we will continue to do whatever is allowable to help him as we move forward."

Missouri can no longer provide comment on Tony Mitchell after this announcement due to NCAA regulations.

Mitchell signed with Missouri back in November of 2009 as one of the nation's most coveted prospects. However, he has never been ruled eligible by the NCAA and has been in limbo ever since graduating from high school last summer in Dallas. You can read the entire timeline of Mitchell's recruitment right here.

In addition, the full release from the NCAA is available here.

Many have asked how Mitchell could enroll at North Texas, but not at Missouri. From what we have pieced together, here is the upshot:

The "partial qualifier" rule no longer exists. You are either deemed a qualifier or a non-qualifier. If you are a non-qualifier, that does not preclude you from enrolling at a Division One institution. It is possible to meet the admissions standards of a school while falling short of the eligibility requirements set forth by the NCAA.

The NCAA's official website states:

As a nonqualifier, you will not be able to:

---Practice or compete for your college or university during your
first year of college; or

---Receive an athletics scholarship during your first year of college, although you may receive need-based financial aid.

You may be able to play only three seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year. To earn a fourth season you must complete at least 80 percent of your degree requirements before beginning your fifth year of college.

In this instance, Mitchell could enroll at North Texas (or any other school which accepts non-qualifiers) as soon as today. If he pays his own way--or receives need-based financial aid--for a year, and demonstrates progress toward a degree in that year, he would be eligible to play in a year.

So, why North Texas and not Mizzou? Because Big 12 Conference rules prohibit it. According to the league bylaws:

"A student-athlete who initally enrolls at a Conference Member Institution must meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements for qualifiers, prior to ther initial enrollment, ether full-tme or part-tme, at any collegate institution to be eligible for financial aid and competition. These rules apply to all student-athletes initially enrollng at Conference Member Insttutons, regardless of whether athletic or institutional financial aid is awarded."

It is also likely far more affordable for Mitchell to attend North Texas since he lives in Texas and has family nearby.

PowerMizzou.com is continuing to attempt to reach Mitchell. If those attempts are successful, we will pass on his side of the story as soon as possible. In addition, if there is a release or comment from Missouri, we will pass that along as well.

Nobody covers the Tigers year-round like PowerMizzou.com. If you are not yet a member, just try out our free trial.

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