Utah Head Coach Craig Smith Provides Update On Deivon Smith’s Status

Dec 15, 2023, 8:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s been a whirlwind of emotion for Utah men’s basketball, head coach Craig Smith and guard Deivon Smith over the past two days.

NIL vehicles aside, it looked for a brief moment like Deivon’s denied transfer waiver was a moot point on Wednesday afternoon. In fact, the belief was that Deivon would be able to suit up and play after a judge in West Virginia issued a 14-day temporary restraining order prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing its transfer waiver rules.

The NCAA came back Thursday afternoon with some different, discouraging information that coach Smith and Deivon will now have to wade through to make a decision on what he will do for the rest of the 2023-24 season.

What Changed With The NCAA, West Virginia Ruling?

In response to December 13’s ruling the NCAA put out this original statement:

As a result of today’s decision impacting Division I student-athletes, the Association will not enforce the year in residency requirement for multiple-time transfers and will begin notifying member schools.

That 14-day TRO was to run through December 27.

Just a day later, on December 14 the NCAA issued a “clarification” that any player who plays during that 13-day window could lose their ability to play the rest of the season and lose the entire season of eligibility if the court’s ruling gets reversed.

Coach Smith said Deivon found out about 10 minutes before Smith came out to speak with media- that was at about 4:30 pm MT on Thursday.

Craig Smith, Runnin Utes Are Handling Deivon Smith’s Situation With Care

There is no doubt this latest about-face has been disappointing for Deivon, coach Smith and the Runnin’ Utes as a whole along with the many other student-athletes across the country also impacted.

“We are going to take our time like we have been doing for the last, what? Like 30 hours trying to accumulate as much information as we can,” coach Smith told reporters. “Then try to make the best possible decision for him. Obviously, it’s his decision. It’s his career, but we are going to talk this thing out with him, with his family and then go from there. We’re going to revisit this thing tomorrow morning, maybe tonight, but more than likely tomorrow morning so he can get a good sleep on it and go from there. It’s a big decision when you hear that.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of moving parts to this story that could change at a moment’s notice and greatly effect whatever decision coach Smith, Deivon, and the Utes determine to be the best move with the info at hand.

It’s just another bizarre chapter in an already frustrating story for everyone involved that could see even more delays on Deivon’s ability to appeal his waiver denial depending on how things shake out.

“The way we are interpreting this- it’s a 14-day moratorium,” coach Smith said. “December 27 could come around- if he doesn’t play in this window- in these two games- so then December 27 rolls around and either the way things are currently, meaning two days ago, stands, or it changes to where he can play, or they extend it. Another two weeks, another three weeks, or another whatever it is. My understanding is that the NCAA is on break from December 20 to January 2 or something in there so that is another layer that we have to deal with. There is a lot. It’s a lot to talk about, there is a lot to think about.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Head Coach Craig Smith Provides Update On Deivon Smith’s Status