The NCAA denied an immediate eligibility waiver request for UNO transfer Marco Smith, who joined the program this past offseason after two years at UMKC.
Smith, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound sophomore guard, would have been an important midseason addition for the Mavericks — they’ve most often operated with an eight-man rotation in 2019-20. They rank 290th nationally in bench minutes, according to analyst Ken Pomeroy’s data.
UNO announced the NCAA’s decision Friday, indicating in a press release that the initial waiver request was not granted — an appeal was denied, as well.
“We are disappointed by the decision regarding the waiver for Marco,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said in a statement. “I would like to thank (associate athletic director) Brian Carey and his compliance staff for their diligence and support of Marco’s case.”
UNO will now have to work its way out of a recent slump without the addition of Smith.
The Mavs (6-8) have lost five of their past six games. They host Montana (4-6) at noon Saturday before starting league play at the end of the month.
Smith, who averaged 5.0 points per game as a freshman at UMKC, didn’t play for the Kangaroos last season. UMKC fired coach Kareem Richardson in March. Four days later, Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi announced that Smith intended to transfer.
But Smith will have to wait until next year to play for UNO. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
“Marco is a terrific person and student-athlete,” Hansen said, “and he will continue to develop in our program this season. We look forward to showcasing his abilities in 2020-21.”