Trey Zeigler's waiver will depend on the fact that his father was fired (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Pretty much as soon as it was known Trey Zeigler was heading to Pitt, we all have had the same question - when will he play? That's not known and won't be known for sure until the NCAA rules on his eligibility. But here's what we do know.
Zeigler's case essentially stems from the fact that his father, Ernie, was fired at Central Michigan. According to a quote from Ernie, they'll use that in making their case as to why he should be eligible immediately:
Transfers must sit out one season when transferring from one Division I school to another, but Zeigler has applied to the NCAA for a special waiver. He is asking the NCAA to allow him to play next season because he played for his father, Ernie, at Central Michigan, and Ernie was fired last month.
"You hear so many different opinions on it," said Ernie Zeigler, who was an assistant coach under Ben Howland at Pitt from 1999-2002. "We're hopeful because of the circumstances that played out with my situation that he was going to be in a peculiar and awkward situation [at Central Michigan]. He's back home now."
So there you have it - it would be an 'awkward situation.'
I've got no doubt it would have been awkward for Trey. I'm just not sure that's enough to rule that he deserved to play sooner than the mandated one-year waiting period. Here's where I can understand Zeigler's argument, though.Zeigler chose Central Michigan over other prestigious schools. He could make the argument that the primary reason for doing so was to play for his father. Now that his father is no longer there, he is not only in an awkward situation (as he called it), but that he wouldn't have chosen the school to begin with.
I'm not saying that's enough to sway the minds of the NCAA on this, but I understand his argument a bit. The problem he'll have is that coaches get fired all the time. That doesn't mean, though, that all of those kids are going to be eligible to play right away. The NCAA could argue that though it was his father who was fired, it's not such an extraordinary case that merits a waiver of the rule.
We'll see, but for now, I'm not all that optimistic. Even if he doesn't play right away, though, this is still a coup for Pitt and will provide more depth at the win for Pitt in 2013. Still, he would help immensely next season. It's true that he'll be able to help in 2013, but Pitt's guards John Johnson and Cam Wright will be upperclassmen by then and will presumably be significantly better. Pitt really could use Zeigler this upcoming season.
Zeigler will enroll for summer classes and also play in the Greentree Summer League according to that earlier Post-Gazette link.