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Tony Mitchell to North Texas

Tony Mitchell

Eat it Mizzou.

KC Star reporter Mike DeArmond gives the breakdown on his situation up there.

The decision to try to do that in Texas rather than at Missouri was most likely a monetary one. Mitchell, as a resident of Dallas, can pay in-state tuition at North Texas, which costs $7,496 according to, with a total projected cost to in-state residents of $18,061 a year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Missouri cost $20,516 according to the same source, with a total projected cost to out-of-state residents of $33,123 a year.

Let’s go ahead and chalk up a victory for our beloved ‘scuela’s DFW placement. It’s one of those things that is always touted as a strength yet seems to rarely deliver at an acceptable rate. It wasn’t only our generously low tuition that won him over however.

Thanks to the Sunbelt’s lenient rules on non-qualifiers and the Big 12(ten)’s hardline stance on the same, we get to enroll the guy and get him eligible. The earliest he can play is December 2011 by all accounts.

Mizzou’s loss is our gain. Sort of. Mitchell has to make up 24 credits in the spring and summer. How did he get into this situation? It is a weird one.

Let’s look at the timeline:

June 1st: WFAA investigates Tony Mitchell’s eligibility relating to the transferability of credits from his old high school, Center of Life Academy to L. G. Pinkston in Dallas. News 8’s Brett Shipp finds Tony Mitchell took nine tests in two days including five in two hours to become classified as a senior at DISD.

Here is the link, complete with very newsy-wording. Seriously, read it out loud with a nasally newscaster voice and you’ll see what I mean. There is also a video if maybe you graduated from Center of Life and cannot read.

Speaking of Center of Life. Hop on over to their website to see what all the fuss is about. If not for the outrage then for the hilarity.

June 3rd: Tony Mitchell does not graduate with his class.

June 8th: More WFAA investigating. Apparently Tony Mitchell skipped 102 classes or so. Yeah.

Fast forward to Jan 5th: He is ruled ineligble by the NCAA (see DeArmond link above). Mizzou appeals and waits for the results.

Jan 24th: As the spring deadline approached for enrollment, Mizzou’s head coach Mike Anderson still held out hope — at least publicly. Center of Life Academy may or may not have sent a ‘package’ that could help Mitchell’s case. Maybe.

Jan 26th: Mizzou loses the appeal and subsequently Tony Mitchell enrolls at North Texas. The NCAA ruling:

The University of Missouri has decided it will not make any further appeals on the eligibility status of prospective men’s basketball player Tony Mitchell.

The NCAA staff initially ruled Mitchell ineligible on Jan 5. The university then appealed to the Division I Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee, which upheld the staff decision on Jan 13.

So yeah. Here is some more pertinent information. At least to us interested in North Texas-related stuff. The requirements for becoming eligible:

There are two ways for an individual who is not cleared for academic reasons to eventually become eligible for Div I sports. The person can either go to a junior college or enroll at a four-year school. If the individual takes the latter route, he or she must serve a year in residence and sit out from competition for a year. In both cases, the individual must meet the necessary academic requirements before regaining eligibility. Individual conferences may have more restrictive rules that could apply.

Again, as pointed out above, the Sunbelt doesn’t a ban on signing non-qualifiers.

Okay, So Should We Be Worried??

From a purely athletic point of view, this is a tremendous signing. Tony Mitchell has NBA-level talent. For a mid-major school this could be the thing that launches us into a golden age.

Or it could be the thing that kills the program if for some reason Tony has more problems academically.

For Johnny Jones and RV, this is definitely evidence of progress and success. Sustained quality on the court has finally paid off in talented recruits. Among the listed reasons that swayed Mitchell toward Denton was the talent that was already headed this way. We had the number 31-ranked class before this.

As listed by the esteemed Brett Vito:

Jordan Williams rated U.S. 108 by Rivals and highly touted Texas guys: Chris Jones, Forrest Robinson, Trey Norris.

Let’s hope Tony Mitchell takes care of business this spring and summer and an already awesome thing gets even awesomer.

[Yahoo Blog- The Dagger]
[WFAA-Investigates Part One and Two]
[STL Today]
[Denton RC/Dallas News’ Brett Vito]

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