The NCAA’s committee for legislative relief notified Tennessee that the 7-footer is now eligible to play, a reversal from the NCAA’s preseason decision not to grant Plavsic a waiver that would have enabled him to play for the Vols from the start of the season.
Athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement that “we appreciate the committee’s work as this process ran its course.”
“We’re thrilled that Uros will receive his opportunity to compete and that he no longer stands to lose a year of his eligibility,” Fulmer said. “Our compliance staff put a great deal of work and persistence into achieving this outcome.”
Plavsic, who is from Serbia, enrolled at Tennessee in May after redshirting at Arizona State last season. The 7-foot, 240-pounder is listed as a redshirt freshman.
Tennessee officials had pointed out that because Plavsic already redshirted last season, he stood to lose an entire year of eligibility if he’d had to sit out this entire season. When the NCAA handed down its initial ruling last fall saying that Plavsic couldn’t play this year, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said that “we’re shocked by it, to be quite frank.”
Plavsic joins a frontcourt that already is seeing breakthrough seasons from juniors John Fulkerson and Yves Pons. Plavsic provides some needed height for a team that didn’t have anyone else taller than 6-9.
Tennessee (10-5, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) visits Georgia (10-5, 0-2) on Wednesday as the Vols continue chasing their third straight NCAA tournament berth.