RaeQuan Battle’s 2023-24 NCAA men’s basketball season appears to be over before it ever got started.
The NCAA upheld its ruling that Battle, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, is ineligible to play for the West Virginia University men’s basketball team this season, West Virginia announced Tuesday.
Battle, a fifth-year senior guard, transferred from Montana State to West Virginia in April. He was expected to be a key part of the Mountaineers’ offense after averaging 17.7 points per game last season for Montana State and leading the Bobcats to the NCAA tournament.
However, Battle had to petition the NCAA for a waiver to play immediately because this was his second transfer — he transferred from Washington to Montana State in 2021 — and he had yet to graduate, meaning he did not qualify as a graduate transfer.
In a joint statement released by West Virginia vice president and director of athletics Wren Baker and Mountaineers head coach Josh Eilert, they said, “On behalf of West Virginia University Intercollegiate Athletics, we believe the NCAA has made a grave mistake and misjudgment with regard to first denying RaeQuan Battle’s request for a waiver and now in his eventual appeal. Both denials have produced nothing but hardship and penalty.
“The intent of the transfer waiver process is to provide relief for extenuating and extraordinary circumstances that are outside the control of the student-athlete. There is no question that RaeQuan’s case clearly calls for a waiver so he can continue his academic and athletic career on a positive tract.
“Once again the NCAA has failed to do the right thing for the well-being and mental health of the student-athlete.”
Battle retains eligibility for the 2024-25 season. He and the school could also seek legal action as a means for receiving eligibility for this season. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a statement Tuesday that said, “This decision is deeply disturbing. I am coordinating with RaeQuan’s attorney and other attorneys general on the next steps. But rest assured, my office will vigorously pursue all of our legal options.”
West Virginia is 2-2 in its first four games this season. The Mountaineers’ regular season concludes March 9.