RaeQuan Battle lays the ball up for a basket while playing for Montana State in the Big Sky Conference tournament championship game March 8 in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

RaeQuan Battle lays the ball up for a basket while playing for Montana State in the Big Sky Conference tournament championship game March 8 in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

NCAA denies MP grad RaeQuan Battle’s waiver to play for West Virginia

The school said it will appeal the decision.

The NCAA has made its ruling, and it’s not the one RaeQuan Battle was hoping to hear.

Battle, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, was denied a waiver that would allow him to play this season for the West Virginia University men’s basketball team. The school announced Monday it would appeal the decision.

“I was very disappointed,” West Virginia interim coach Josh Eilert said during his press availability Wednesday. “I wouldn’t say I was shocked by the result because it seems like a lot of these are being denied. It seems like your success rate has a lot more to do with the appeal process. I thought there were no holes in it and it was a pretty sure-win thing for RaeQuan, but I am still very optimistic that they’re going to do right by him, and a new fresh set of eyes will probably help that case.”

Eilert said the school was not given a reason why the waiver was denied. He did not know how long it would take the NCAA to rule on the appeal.

Battle, a 6-foot-5 fifth-year guard, transferred from Montana State to West Virginia in April following a breakout junior campaign with the Bobcats. Battle averaged a team-leading 17.7 points per game, and he was named the Big Sky Conference tournament’s Most Valuable Player as he led Montana State to the first back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in school history. He then dropped 27 points in the Bobcats’ NCAA tournament loss to Kansas State.

However, Battle required an NCAA waiver to play immediately because this is his second transfer — he transferred from Washington to Montana State in 2021 — and he has yet to graduate and therefore does not qualify as a graduate transfer.

This is the latest setback for Battle, who’s endured a turbulent offseason. He decided to transfer from Montana State after head coach Danny Sprinkle departed for Utah State. He drew interest from many Power Five programs, eventually choosing West Virginia, a member of the Big-12 that qualified for six of the past eight NCAA tournaments. But in June Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins resigned after being arrested for a driving-under-the-influence incident. Battle decided to stick with West Virginia, despite an exodus of players following Huggins’ departure, and he was expected to be a starter and a top offensive threat this season.

West Virginia’s first game is Nov. 6 against Missouri State.

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