By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 25, 2003
TAMPA -- South Florida's Raphael Toren's eligibility appeal is scheduled for 1 p.m. today, and the Bulls should know the committee's ruling by the end of the day.
Toren, 20, played in 31 games for a professional team in his native Israel. He received only actual and necessary expenses, which, according to USF, maintained his collegiate eligibility.
In January, however, he was deemed a professional by the NCAA and ruled ineligible.
Toren, a 6-foot-6 walkon guard, spent two years in the Israeli army and joined the Bulls after the first semester. The school is adamant Toren did not, and never intended to, professionalize himself and should join the 392 foreigners in men's Division I basketball.
"This guy deserves to be in college basketball," USF coach Seth Greenberg said. "I will be appalled if he doesn't gain his eligibility. It will be another sad commentary on how the NCAA conducts its business.
"His family did everything possible not to professionalize him. We've gathered the facts, and the facts are plain and simple. But it's their interpretation."
The five members of the appeals committee are Carolayne Henry (chair), Mountain West Conference associate commissioner; David O'Conner, New Hampshire associate athletic director; Cecil Huey, Clemson faculty athletics representative; Carol Iwaoka, Big Ten associate commissioner; and Carolyne O'Connell, Loyola (Ill.) associate athletic director.
The NCAA, USF and Toren have 10 minutes to speak. Then the committee will ask questions. Each has five additional minutes to speak before the committee deliberates and makes its ruling.
Also listening in on the call and available to field questions are USF's attorneys, Leonard Kleinman and Michael Buckner, and Toren's father, Peter.
Though Toren has missed most of the season, Greenberg said he likely would play in the final three regular-season games and in the Conference USA tournament rather than redshirt.