The saga of former Livingstone College women’s basketball player Kyra Crosby’s eligibility may not be over just yet. And, for that matter, Livingstone’s status in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings may not be significantly impacted either.
Crosby, a senior from Atlanta, Ga., appealed the school’s decision to nullify 18 of the Lady Blue Bears’ 22 games over the weekend. Crosby filed the appeal with the CIAA on Sunday according to an email obtained by John Dell of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal.
“I felt as the student-athlete involved I didn’t have a fighting chance,” Crosby said. “As it stands, I am the victim of administrative errors made by Georgia State University and Livingstone College.”
Livingstone self-reported suspected eligibility violations relating to Crosby’s transfer from Georgia State to the CIAA and NCAA on Friday. The school forfeited the 18 games Crosby played, dropping the Lady Blue Bears from 22-0. Livingstone’s compliance officer resigned and the school’s athletic director was placed on one year probation.
The Lady Blue Bears lost to Johnson C. Smith on Sunday in their first game since the nullification was confirmed. Crosby sat out four of Livingstone’s five previous games prior to Sunday’s 70-66 Lady Blue Bears loss.
Sunday’s loss put Livingstone in fourth place in the CIAA South with a 4-4 divisional record (4-19 overall) with the forfeited games factored in. However, according to the CIAA website as of Wednesday morning, Livingstone’s record is listed as 22-1 with a 7-1 divisional record (13-1 in conference play).
The CIAA’s standings page on Monday reflected the 18 nullified contests. That same page, as of Wednesday morning, no longer indicates any forfeited games, though that is reportedly subject to change pending Crosby’s appeal.
Neither Livingstone, Georgia State, nor the CIAA responded to further requests for comment as of Wednesday morning.
Crosby played at Gulf Coast State College in Florida for two seasons (2009-2011), then transferred to Alabama for her junior season. She transferred to Georgia State after the 2011-2012 season and was listed on the active roster for the 2013-2014 season after sitting out one season per NCAA rules.
“Upon arriving at [Livingstone] I was prepared to go through the process of requesting an approval for the Additional Progress Toward Degree Waivers … to gain eligibility for the current year,” Crosby wrote in the email. “I had been through some rough experiences including helping my mother deal with her own attempted suicide, which caused me to not complete my spring semester at [Georgia State].”
Crosby claimed Georgia State provided incomplete information to Livingstone which led to the apparent eligibility violations.
“In addition to GSU’s oversight with sending incomplete information regarding my time there, I was told that CIAA investigations found that the compliance officer for LC should have requested a more complete tracer from GSU and that he may have misinterpreted incomplete information regarding my eligibility. I feel at that point, LC should have proceeded to file for my Additional Progress Toward Degree Waiver rather that interpret an incomplete tracer to secure my eligibility for this season.”
Crosby further accuses a rival CIAA school obtained information and forwarded it to the conference in violation of the Buckley Amendment, which prohibits sharing of personal information without a student’s consent.
“[T]he CIAA neglected to initially validate documentation received from Shaw University which sparked allegations toward my eligibility,” Crosby said. “GSU contends that they did not provide Shaw with the document that Shaw provided to the CIAA.”
Crosby claims Shaw received the document on Dec. 8, 2014, “yet did not share the information with the CIAA until late January 2015” in “a strategic attempt on Shaw’s behalf to force [Livingstone] to forfeit more games than necessary.”
Meanwhile, successful eligibility appeals by CIAA players are not unprecedented, especially ahead of the conference tournament.
The 2003 Shaw women’s team initially saw one of their their leading scorers, Naomi Mobley, ruled ineligible after reportedly accepting per diem expenses during a WNBA tryout. Although Mobley’s eligibility was restored by the NCAA just before the CIAA tournament, Shaw was still forced to forfeit 24 games. In spite of the forfeits, the Lady Bears still won the CIAA tournament advanced to that year’s South Atlantic Regional Championship game.
It remains unclear if Crosby’s appeal will be successful or if Livingstone’s wins will be restored. One can suspect that both the CIAA and the NCAA would like to resolve these issues once and for all before the CIAA tourney begins in Charlotte next Tuesday.