Former Xavier player Dezmine Wells, a rising sophomore combo guard, lists Texas amongst his transfer options. ESPN's Jon Rothstein tweeted that Wells is looking at the Longhorns along with Louisville and Memphis, noting that a decision could come as early as this week.
Wells averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Musketeers. He was expected to take on a leadership role following the graduation of Tu Holloway and the transfer of Mark Lyons. However, Wells was recently expelled from the university following allegations of sexual assault.
[UPDATE - August 28, 4:17 PM CST] Xavier is upholding its decision to expel despite the grand jury verdict. ESPN's Dave Telep reports that Wells will visit Louisville, Memphis and Maryland. Telep did not list Texas.
Today, the Grand Jury in Hamilton County, Ohio declined to charge Wells with any criminal offense after reviewing the evidence, or lack thereof. Per the Cincinnati Inquirer's
Susan Shannon Russell, who has been covering the case, Wells is trying to salvage his reputation following the allegation.
Merlyn Shiverdecker, Wells’ attorney, agreed with Deters’ assessment of the damage on Wells’ reputation.
"This is at least one step in Dez trying to get back his good name," Shiverdecker said.
Would Wells even WANT to return, if that was an opportunity?
Shiverdecker: "He is conflicted. He loved his teammates. He loved his coaches. He loved Xavier University. But to suggest right now that he would be 100 percent committed to coming back, I couldn’t say that. He’s very disappointed and hurt about the nature of allegations against him and the fact that this ever happened."
The quick decision timeframe set forth by Rothstein is likely due to the start of the fall semester. Wells would want to start the new school year at whatever school he chooses immediately to remain in good academic standing. It is conceivable that Xavier could reinstate him, should Wells decide he wanted to try and return to the Musketeers program.
Should Wells decide to transfer, Texas currently has two scholarships available. The Longhorns would likely assign those scholarships to walk-ons Dean Melchionni and Andrew Dick. Both players took open scholarships last year. It's important to note that once scholarships are assigned, they cannot be reallocated in the year. However, no press release has been issued by the Texas SID, so the assumption is those scholarships are still open. Another important note: neither Memphis nor Louisville have available scholarships for the 2012-13 season.
Wells would likely have to sit out a year per transfer requirements, though he could conceivably apply for a hardship transfer waiver. Per John Infante of the Bylaw Blog, a hardship transfer waiver is typically granted when a player is "compelled to transfer because of financial hardship or an injury or illness to the student-athlete or a member of their family."
Most recently, Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs was denied a hardship waiver upon his transfer to Seton Hall. He reportedly transferred to be closer to an ailing member of the family. ESPN's Eamonn Brennan reports that roughly half of undergraduate transfer waivers have been approved since 2007.
Since Wells' situation is neither financial nor family-related, it seems doubtful that such a waiver would be granted. In that case, he would sit out a year and have three years of eligibility remaining starting in the 2013-14 season.