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MacDougall unlikely to get extra season to play

Many athletes have said their college careers came and went in a flash.

For University of New Mexico forward Connor MacDougall, it appears his might be coming to a close a full year earlier than he had expected.

The Tempe, Ariz., native played six games, and a total of just 23 minutes, his freshman season (2014-15) for Arizona State before suffering a shoulder injury. He, and others around him, had assumed he’d be granted a medical hardship waiver, more commonly known by fans as a “medical redshirt,” so that injury-shortened season wouldn’t count as one of the four he’s allowed to play in college.

He played the 2015-16 season at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix before joining the Lobos last year in what he, and apparently the school based on its media guide and online roster, thought was his sophomore season.

Apparently not.

“We filed an appeal through the Pac 12 office, which is where Connor’s redshirt year in question came up,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said on Thursday. “That appeal was denied. There’s a Mountain West policy that states those such appeals can only be done in the conference that they’re in. So, at this point, Connor’s senior year is upon us.”

Carolayne Henrey, Mountain West Conference Senior Associate Commissioner for compliance, told the Journal that medical hardship waiver requests must be filed through the conference the player was playing in when the injury occurred.

That appeal was denied, as was MacDougall’s and UNM’s request from the Pac-12 to forward the matter to the NCAA.

Because the season in question was not in the Mountain West, the league can not do anything more about it and, apparently, the Pac-12 has made its final decision on the matter.

“There’s really not much more that we can do internally,” Weir said. “There might be some things we’re going to look into, but at this point I think he’s aware it’s very likely this is going to be his senior year, and so are we.”

Guidelines for medical hardship waivers indicate the injury must have happened during one of his four seasons of eligibility, cost him the rest of that season, the player could not have participated in more than 30 percent of his team’s games and could not have played beyond the halfway point of the season.

The Pac-12, it would appear, decided MacDougall played, or at least participated in practices, too late into the season (beyond the halfway point) to allow his hardship waiver.

UNM will continue to see if there are any other options for an appeal of the decision.

AND NOW? MacDougall returned to practice Thursday, briefly, for the first time since spraining an ankle and suffering a bone bruise Oct. 27 in an exhibition against BYU.

He was pulled from practice after a few drills. He told the Journal prior to practice his injury was “up and down,” feeling good one day and bad the next.

Weir said he wasn’t sure yet if MacDougall would play in Saturday night’s season opener, but after his leaving Thursday’s practice it appeared unlikely considering the amount of practice he’s missed and the fact the team plays three games in a seven-day period.

“We’re still taking a little bit of a wait-and-see approach with him,” Weir said. “We don’t want anything to turn to something long term with him.”

OTHER GAMES: In addition to Saturday night’s Lobo opener against Northern New Mexico, there are four other men’s basketball games in the Pit this weekend.

Saturday, Eastern New Mexico plays Fort Lewis at 12:30 p.m. and New Mexico Highlands plays Western New Mexico at 3 p.m.

Sunday, Fort Lewis plays WNMU at 3 and NMHU plays ENMU at 5.

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