Jace Tavita

Jace Tavita, who signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Utah last year, may not play for at the Utes this year after having his high school academic transcript placed under review by the NCAA.

Tavita, a 6-foot-4 all-state guard from Brighton High School, is enrolled in school and paying his own way, but is not able to practice with the team unless the NCAA renders a positive decision.

When asked about the situation Tuesday, Utah coach Jim Boylen said, "We're waiting for an answer. (Tavita) dug himself a hole and had to make up so many credits. We feel he's done the necessary work to support his case."

According to Kyle Brennan, the U. assistant athletic director for compliance, it is an "ongoing process" and he doesn't know when the NCAA will make its decision on the case. He said if Tavita is cleared by the NCAA, he will be eligible to play this year and his scholarship will take effect at that time.

Tavita's academic problems stemmed from his sophomore year in high school. He spent most of his junior year at the Patterson Prep Academy in North Carolina before returning to Brighton. When Tavita signed with Utah, Brighton coach Lyndon Johnson said, "He's had some struggles but he's worked hard to get things right."

Boylen said Tavita is doing very well in school at the U. so far this year. If he is ruled ineligible, Utah can appeal the decision. If it still comes back negative from the NCAA, Tavita would have to go to a junior college and get his associates degree before being able to play at Utah or elsewhere.

Before signing with Utah, Tavita was recruited by the likes of Washington State, Oregon, Arizona State, Wake Forest and BYU.

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