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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Michael Fey's National Letter Of
Intent Voided By UCLA--(June 29, 2001)

UCLA announced officially today that Michael Fey (6'-11" Sr. C/F) has not achieved a high enough combination SAT-GPA for initial freshman eligibility, and his National Letter of Intent has been voided by the school.   He will reportedly enroll at a prep school or a JUCO to gain eligibility.

The speculation had been rampant for months that Fey, from Olympia, Washington, who played with the Seattle Friends of Hoop squad, might not qualify.  Anyone visiting either BRO or Bruinzone message boards in the last few weeks, couldn't help notice the controversy spinning on those two boards, which, unfortunately now also seems to have devolved into personal attacks on those who know the athlete involved and on those who report on recruiting.  The discussion regarding privacy, grades and the internet is a good one, raising legitimate concerns over balancing the free flow of information about high-profile recruits and respect for their privacy.    Is it or is it not a "public" issue, something to be shared with the general when it comes to discussing the grades and test scores of a high-profile high school athlete, or should the subject be off-limits to all except the family and the school recruiting him given the laws pertaining to student privacy?   There are great arguments to be made on both sides of the issue, but it seems that whether the prospect (or his parents) wants to keep the subject private, the ultimate question of admission and NCAA freshman eligibility are going to come out eventually, and in a very public way, like it or not.  And unfortunately for Fey, it's coming out in the least flattering way possible.  That's just the way it is.   At least UCLA issued a very dignified press release on the subject (below), and they ought to be commended for that.

Like a lot of universities who will give some deference to athletes over regular admitees (very little actually), the fact remains that UCLA's requirements for admission to the university are tougher than the NCAA's bare minimum sliding scale of SAT-GPA for initial eligibility, and UCLA does not take Prop.48's (partial or non-qualifiers).  Likewise, the University of California, unlike most other public universities in the U.S., also places a great deal of weight on the SAT II's (which is a series of three subject specific exams which test knowledge, not just potential aptitude as the SAT I does).   The official press release (below) stated that Fey did not achieve NCAA freshman eligibility.   We take that to mean exactly what it says, i.e., that he didn't achieve a satsifactory combination of score and GPA.   Whether that means he did or did not achieve a "passing" test score on the SAT is something that none of us will really ever know, because the NCAA's criteria involves a sliding scale and a combination of both test score and GPA, and without knowing both, it's really not possible to know.  While people use the phrase "passing" score, there really is no such thing as a "passing" score for the SAT I, and the 820 number which gets bandied as a "minimum"  is only sorta, kinda, a "minimum".  It's the lowest SAT I score possible, but that doesn't mean that if a recruit scores higher he will necessarily qualify, because it also depends upon a concomittant GPA.  Theoretically, a student could have a 4.0 GPA and yet still not achieve a passing score (one might then question the rigors of the grading or curriculum at the school, but it's theoretically possible).  Likewise, a student could achieve a 1400 SAT and still not qualify if the GPA was not over the threshold with that kind of test score.   Of course, combinations like that (a high score with a low GPA) in the real world, simply mean that   the SAT folks will flag a test score and likely make the student take the test again, but none of that is of any concern to UCLA or Michael Fey right now.  The bottom line is that we won't know about Fey's particulars unless and until Fey chooses to share the info, and it seems (at least if you believe what's being posted on the message boards by those who claim to know) neither he nor his family will do so.   And if that's the case, the rest of us ought to respect their privacy and move on.   

With Fey seeming to now off the table as an option for next season at UCLA, questions still remain about what he and UCLA will do, together and separately.  There is some speculation still being offered that he could do something similar to what Travon Bryant did at Missouri:  Attend a prep school, get his test score and GPA up, and then enroll in December for the balance of the season.   Whether that's a realistic possibility at UCLA or not is something that's just not known.   And what Fey's absence also means  for UCLA's immediate recruiting future is unclear.  Fey had been seen as the reliable big-man backup for Dan Gadzuric for the upcoming season, and the Bruins will now have to do without that kind of luxury.   Will Fey remain "committed" to the Bruins while he tries to get himself eligible, or will he once again open up his recruiting?  Technically and practically speaking, at this point he and the university are no longer bound to one another, and he's free to consider other offers once he gets eligible.  The press release below states he will enroll at a JC or prep school, but he could still enroll somewhere like a Fresno State, which admits partial and non-qualifiers.  Likewise,  the Bruins now also have one more scholarship opening up for the class of 2002 or if they want to use it for someone currently enrolled, which is more likely, given the fact that the current roster (issued last week) shows 18 players, 17 if you don't count Fey, which is still 4 over the limit of 13 for the current year.   .   The math is a bit murky, but right now most people believe UCLA will use three scholarships this summer.

Here's the official press release from UCLA on Fey:

Michael Fey Will Not Attend UCLA in 2001

UCLA will void letter-of-intent

June 29, 2001

Michael Fey, a 6-11, 245-pound center from Capital High School in Olympia, WA, will not be enrolling at UCLA this fall, it was announced today. 

Fey's National Letter-of-Intent, signed last November, will be voided by UCLA because he did not meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements. UCLA does not admit non- or partial qualifiers.

According to the Fey family, Fey will be attending a junior college or prep school in the fall.

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