The NCAA has allowed injury-plagued Michigan State men's basketball forward Ben Carter to play for the Spartans by granting him a sixth year of eligibility. Carter came to the Spartans last year following an ACL tear in his senior season at UNLV and reinjured his knee in preseason workouts.
“I feel blessed. First of all, I want to thank the NCAA for granting the waiver, and everyone at Michigan State, especially in the compliance office, for all their hard work," Carter said in a team press release. "I honestly didn’t know if the waiver would be granted, but I kept praying that I would be able to play one more year of college basketball."
The NCAA officially approved a medical hardship waiver for Carter, who missed the entire 2016-2017 season and the final 11 games of the 2015-2016 campaign. He last played on January 30, 2016.
Rehab for Carter's knee is ongoing.
Normally, student-athletes have five years to complete four seasons of their sport. However, an additional season can be offered in the case of injury.
Carter averaged 8.6 points and six rebounds in his first and only year at UNLV. The six-foot-eight-inch forward came to MSU to help fill the void left by draft-bound Deyonta Davis in 2016 and was immediately available to play as a graduate transfer before his injury.
"When I first decided to transfer to MSU, I thought it would be just a quick eight-month stop," Carter said. "I never imagined I would form the strong bonds with my teammates that I have."
Before transferring to UNLV, Carter spent two years at Oregon. He did not play in 2014-2015 under transfer rules.
Michigan State basketball head coach Tom Izzo said that Carter still contributed to the Spartans last year by consistently attending practices and being "a great teammate." Next season, Carter will share front-court minutes with sophomore Nick Ward, incoming freshman Jaren Jackson, incoming freshman Xavier Tillman, redshirt junior Kenny Goins and redshirt senior Gavin Schilling.
"After two knee injuries, there are never any guarantees, but I’m hoping that he’ll be able to contribute a little bit on the court and a lot off it,” Izzo said.
Carter will complete his master's degree during his final year of eligibility.