Controversy over Holman suspension growing in Richmond

Here’s the latest on Eli Holman from Matt’s story in today’s H-T.

By Matt Dollinger
331-4355 | [email protected]
December 7, 2006

The California Interscholastic Federation officially denied his appeal last week, but Indiana basketball recruit Eli Holman is continuing his fight to regain his eligibility and have his 18-month suspension reduced.

“The information (the CIF) based their decision on was not accurate or correct,” Richmond assistant coach Lonnie Colman said in reference to Holman’s grade point average.

Coleman, who returned a message left for Holman, said that a new appeal is already in process and that they will receive word within a couple of weeks.

“We’re going to try and press the issue and move quickly so they can’t sit on their hands,” he said.

But the appeal may fall on deaf ears. On Monday, CIF executive director Marie Ishida told the San Francisco Chronicle that she would not consider any further appeals.

“They will not return any of our calls,” Coleman said of the CIF. “We are filing an appeal and we do have the grounds to do so. We’re going to give them the information they overlooked and let them make an accurate decision. I find this whole decision process pretty sketchy.”

According to Coleman, Holman has raised his GPA to about 2.2, and is expecting by semester’s end for it to reach 2.8. Coleman also said that Holman has improved his SAT scores by 180 points to 700.

Even with the improvement, Holman is hovering near the NCAA eligibility line. With his new SAT score, Holman would need to maintain a 2.8 GPA to be eligible.

Holman’s suspension stems from a game on Dec. 3, 2005 when he pushed a referee after receiving a technical foul.

“Elijah understands he made a mistake, he is just trying to figure out when he is going to be forgiven,” Coleman said.

Coleman said that round two of the appeals process is being backed by people across the Richmond community, from Ken Carter, the former Richmond basketball coach and the basis of the movie Coach Carter, to the referee that Holman came in physical contact with that December night, to the NAACP and Jesse Jackson.

Meanwhile, Holman is continuing to work out.

Coleman said that no matter the result of the appeal’s process, Holman will not transfer to a private school to play basketball and will continue to attend Richmond.

“He’s not going to run and play basketball somewhere else,” he said. “This is the hardest thing Eli will ever go through in his life. Richmond is a very violent and hard place to live life, but he is going to show everyone through hard work that he can get through it.”

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