Athletic Director Henderson sheds light on Hampton eligibility issues

Athletic Director Henderson sheds light on Hampton eligibility issues

HAMPTON, VA (EHOURL)- The ineligibility of multiple student-athletes at Hampton University is largely due to meeting progress towards degree requirements.

Anthony Henderson, the Pirates’ Director of Athletics, clarified that on Monday in an email response to questions from News 3. Henderson added that transfer student-athletes are the most impacted by the eligibility issues.

The head of the Hampton athletic department announced Friday that a number of student-athletes did not meet NCAA requirements to be eligible for competition and that those student-athletes would be prohibited from participating in their respective sports until the matters were resolved.

“We are very optimistic that the majority of the affected student-athletes will be cleared to return to compete this fall,” Henderson said as part of his email response.

The Pirates have been conducting a thorough review of all sports as it pertains to eligibility, according to their athletic director. Cross country, women’s soccer, volleyball and football are the programs that have been impacted to date.

The Hampton football team, which came back to defeat Howard on Saturday in Washington, DC, is the highest-profile program facing the issues. Henderson says there are currently nine players with questions regarding their eligibility.

“Even with just a question, we will not take the chance of playing that individual out of an abundance of caution and doing what is best for the success of the program moving forward,” he noted.

Henderson also added that each head coach receives a list of student-athletes with questionable eligibility status. These lists have been updated prior to each competition or game as more players are cleared to return.

“No student-athlete with concerns or questions should have participated in competition this year,” the athletic director pointed out.

The school has been in constant contact with the NCAA and Henderson could not comment as to whether he expects any sort of investigation or measures taken by the governing body of college athletics.

The first-year leader of the department did stress that none of the issues are related to grades or academic performance. Henderson pointed out that 182 student-athletes made the Dean’s List for the 2022-2023 academic year, when the overall Pirate athletic program boasted a 3.24 GPA and 24 athletes carried a 4.0.

In his letter released Friday, Henderson assured the university community that he and his staff were on top of the situation and working in the best interests of the student-athletes and the program.

“The Athletics Department and the entire University continues to work tirelessly with all parties involved to overcome these challenges and to return our student-athletes to competition,” he said.

Despite the complications of the past several weeks, Hampton is coming off a successful weekend. Running back Elijah Burris was named HBCU National Player of the Week by BOXTOROW for his performance in the Pirates’ 35-34 win over Howard and the football team received votes in the FCS Coaches Poll. In addition, Pirate sailing took a championship at the Kingsmill Cup.

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