NCAA Restores Player's Eligibility

The Harvard men's basketball team received a much-needed boost yesterday, as the NCAA restored eligibility to 6'11" Spanish recruit Arturo Llopis-Carbonell '93.

The NCAA ruled last November that Llopis could not play for Harvard because he had played for a professional team in Spain. His first appeal in December failed to sway a special NCAA Eligibility Committee.

But the committee reversed that decision yesterday when it learned that Llopis' former team, F.C. Barcelona, only gained professional status the year after Llopis left the team, said NCAA spokesperson Janet M. Justus. Llopis played for the team from 1988 to 1990.

The NCAA also ruled that Llopis must pay back $498 that his team contributed to his tuition while he was attending the University of Barcelona.

"Through our conversations with the officials in Spain, we gathered more information about the organization [F.C. Barcelona]," Justus said. "We now know that Llopis' team did not turn professional until the year after he participated."


Llopis said that Harvard is lending him the $498, which he will repay when he is able.

Llopis, a native of Valencia, Spain, who transferred to Harvard this year from Connors State Junior College in Oklahoma, said he is relieved that the legal dispute has finally ended.

"I knew I was right because I didn't do anything against the rules," Llopis said. "I was expecting the committee to make the right decision."

Andrea Wickerham, an assistant athletic director at Harvard who represented the University during the appeals process, said Llopis handled himself well while he was ineligible to play.

"Arturo was very supportive and patient throughout the six-month appeals process," Wickerham said in a prepared statement.

Now that Llopis can concentrate on his basketball skills, he said his main concern is getting himself back into "game shape."

While he has practiced with the team all season, anticipating the NCAA toreverse its decision, Llopis said he hasn't playedin an official game since August 1990.

"I haven't been playing with pressure and toughcompetition," Llopis said. "There are some thingsplayers don't do in a practice that they will in agame.

Despite Llopis's lack of conditioning, hisaddition to the roster delights Head Coach FrankSullivan--whose squad has a record of 3-14.

"We're just all so pleased that justiceprevailed," Sullivan said.

"It was a big loss not having him on the courtfor most of the season," Sullivan said. "As tallas he is, at 6'11", I think he adds a differentdimension to our team."