RaeQuan Battle while playing for Montana State during an NCAA Tournament game on March 17 in Greensboro, N.C. Battle, who since transferred to West Virginia, has been ruled ineligible to play for the school’s men’s basketball team. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

RaeQuan Battle while playing for Montana State during an NCAA Tournament game on March 17 in Greensboro, N.C. Battle, who since transferred to West Virginia, has been ruled ineligible to play for the school’s men’s basketball team. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Community roundup: MP grad Battle ‘devastated’ by NCAA ruling

Plus, Jadyn Edwards joins New Mexico’s Hall of Honor, and Daniel Arias is back with the NFL’s Cardinals

RaeQuan Battle has ended his silence, and he had strong words for the NCAA regarding the organization’s decision to deny him eligibility to play for the West Virginia University men’s basketball team this season.

Battle, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, released a lengthy statement on X on Saturday, responding to the NCAA’s decision to deny him a waiver to play immediately after transferring to West Virginia from Montana State over the offseason.

“I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s decision to deny me eligibility for the 2023-24 basketball season,” Battle said in the statement.

“The NCAA has failed me, my family, my community, my team and everything they say they stand for when it comes to a student athlete.”

Battle, a senior guard, averaged 17.7 points per game while leading Montana State to the NCAA tournament last season. He transferred from Montana State to West Virginia in April after Bobcats coach Danny Sprinkle left Montana State to become the head coach at Utah State.

Battle needed a special-circumstances waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to play immediately because this was his second transfer — he transferred from Washington to Montana State in 2021 — and he was not eligible as a graduate transfer because he hadn’t graduated. However, the NCAA denied his waiver request and upheld its decision upon appeal.

In his statement, Battle detailed why he disagreed with the NCAA’s decision. He cited Sprinkle’s departure as a situation he didn’t control, that his mental health would have suffered had he stayed at Montana State, and that his graduation date would be set back if he followed Sprinkle to Utah State.

Battle, who is a member of the Tulalip Tribes, also spoke at length about his Native American heritage and the challenges he’s encountered as a Native American. He said the connection he forged with West Virginia coach Josh Eilert, who lived on a Native American reservation when he was younger, has been important for his mental health, and that he’s received the mental-health support he’s needed since arriving at West Virginia.

“(The waiver denial has) severely affected me and my mental health; struggles that impact my everyday life,” Battle said in the statement. “I will not detail the trauma that I have faced throughout my childhood and college life, but those who do know my story understand how badly I need the game of basketball as part of a comprehensive process to improve my well-being and mental health.

“I will not go quietly.”

As things stand Battle, who has one year of eligibility remaining, is eligible to play in the 2024-25 season. Battle and West Virginia could also pursue legal action against the NCAA in an attempt to gain eligibility this season.

Edwards inducted into UNM Hall of Honor

Jackson High School graduate Jadyn Edwards has been inducted into the University of New Mexico Athletics Hall of Honor.

Edwards, a 2018 Jackson graduate, starred as a forward for the Lobos’ women’s soccer team from 2018-22, tallying 31 goals and 24 assists over 94 games. She was a three-time first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection, and she was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2021. Edwards also twice scored the golden goal in overtime in the conference championship game, sending the Lobos to the NCAA tournament. She was named The Herald’s 2021-22 Woman of the Year in Sports.

Arias back with the NFL’s Cardinals

Jackson High School graduate Daniel Arias, now an NFL wide receiver, is back with the Arizona Cardinals.

Arias, an undrafted rookie free agent, was signed by the Cardinals to their practice squad. He originally made Arizona’s 53-man roster before the season began, but was waived a day later and signed to the team’s practice squad. He was later released from the Cardinals’ practice squad, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, then released by Kansas City.

If you have an item for the community sports roundup, email Nick Patterson at npatterson@heraldnet.com.

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