Cal freshman forward/center Amit Tamir, whose eligibility was called into question because he played with professionals as a member of the Israeli National Team, will have to sit out just eight games this season. The decision came after a vote Thursday by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.
“I’m very happy for Amit,” said Cal head coach Ben Braun. “I’m extremely pleased that the Board of Directors supported the Management Council’s proposal to make a significant reduction in the number of games foreign players would have to miss. Anybody who is familiar with foreign players realizes that these players have done everything they could to secure their amateur status. Fortunately, the Board realized that. I’m not only happy for Amit, but for all players in his situation that wanted to pursue a college career.”
According to the NCAA, the Board defeated a motion that would have overturned action taken Oct. 22-23 by the Management Council to set a new reinstatement policy for the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee as it considers violations of bylaws for student-athletes who competed on a “tier-one” professional team prior to initial eligibility, but are otherwise eligible under NCAA rules. The policy primarily affects international basketball student-athletes who have participated in international leagues.
This action changes the existing policy of the reinstatement subcommittee, which specifies that student-athletes who participated in first-tier-level professional competition in a foreign country would be withheld from one intercollegiate game for each professional game played.
As a member of the Israeli National Team, Tamir played a number of games both with and against professionals. Without Thursday’s decision, he likely would have had to sit out the entire season. Instead, Tamir will make his Cal debut Dec. 28 against Harvard in the first round of the Golden Bear Classic.
“Amit has already worked his way into our rotation as one of our top players and will add to the depth on our front line,” said Braun. “He’s an older, more mature player that will help us considerably.”
A 6-10, 250-pound post player, Tamir has already served a three-year commitment with the Israeli army before enrolling at Cal. The Jerusalem native led his high school team to the city championship, and he also represented Israel at the 1998 Under-22 European championships.