Dayton Flyers forward Chase Johnson will be eligible to play in the first eight games of the season instead of waiting until the end of the first semester, the University of Dayton announced Wednesday.
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“We’re very happy and excited for Chase,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said in a press release. “We, along with Chase and his family, are very appreciative of the NCAA’s decision to grant the waiver allowing him three full years of competition.”
Johnson transferred from the University of Florida to Dayton in January but filed an appeal with the NCAA to receive a waiver so he could play right away at the start of this season. NCAA rules require transfers to attend their new school for a full academic year before playing in games, but the NCAA does consider appeals.
Johnson’s injury history — he suffered concussions in both his years with the Florida Gators and also missed time because of a neck injury and an illness — surely played a part in the NCAA giving him the waiver.
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If Johnson’s appeal had not been granted, he couldn’t have played until the Dec. 14 game against Drake. He would have missed eight games in all, including the season opener Nov. 9 against Indiana State and four of the most important games for Dayton’s NCAA tournament resume: the three games in the Maui Invitational (Nov. 25-27) and the game against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 8 in Phoenix, Ariz.
The decision means Dayton will have its full 11-man roster for the entire season. Johnson had a simple one-word reaction to the news on Instagram at first.
“Thankful,” he wrote.
Later Johnson wrote, “I’m extremely thankful for everyone involved in my process. I would like to thank the University of Dayton’s athletic department, coaching staff and players for everything they’ve done for me. I also would like to thank the University of Florida’s coaching staff and athletic department for their help and support along the way as well. I’m blessed and very excited. #GodSpeed”
Johnson, a 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore from Ripley, W.Va., and Huntington Prep, appeared in six games in two seasons with the Florida Gators. He played a total of 53 minutes, averaging 3.8 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Johnson saw action in four games as a freshman but eventually decided to redshirt. He appeared in two games early last season before deciding to transfer in December. He committed to Dayton eight days after visiting UD and sitting behind the bench for a game and one day after visiting Pittsburgh.
Johnson was a four-star recruit who ranked 98th in the class of 2017, according to ESPN.com. He’s one of four transfers, along with Ibi Watson (Michigan), Rodney Chatman (Chattanooga) and Jordy Tshimanga (Nebraska), who practiced with the team last year and will make their UD debuts this season.
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