NCAA transfer benched by rules

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Steph Barrie has ensured a seamless transition in the Western women's basketball team's backcourt.

Once all-star Amanda Anderson completes her final season of eligibility in 2009-10, the Mustangs head coach can plug in newly-added Canadian junior women's team member and former University of Denver hoopster Jenny Vaughan at point guard the following year.

The shame is Anderson and Vaughan won't get to play together at the same time. Canadian Interuniversity Sport's eligibility rules insist the 19-year-old Dundas native -- and NCAA Division I transfers like her -- must sit out a full season before suiting up for their new school.

"My personal feeling is I think it's punitive for players in their first or second year of school to have to sit," Barrie said. "I understand why the NCAA has those rules. It's a business. But we're not that way and I don't know why we have to have the same rules they do. I can see why you'd have it in place for third- or fourth-year transfers because then you're doing it for reasons other than school.

"But 18-year-olds can make mistakes in choosing schools and I don't think they shouldn't be punished for it."

Troy University transfer Jacklyn Selfe, however, will be able to play for Western in the second half of this season because of an injury last year.

Barrie believes there are more than a few Canadians playing NCAA basketball -- and the same goes for other university sports across the spectrum -- who are teetering on the edge between staying on U.S. scholarship or returning to Canada.

"And if they were able to play right away," he said, "that could tip them our way. With Jenny, it was something other than (playing time) that was an issue. She played nearly 20 minutes a game. She was coming back to Denver as the starting point guard.

"But in Denver's conference, their travel is unreal. They'll go on the road for five, six days, then come back for a couple of days and head out again. That makes it tough (on academics)."

Vaughan plans to study biology at Western with hopes of moving into kinesiology or food nutrition. She averaged 3.5 points and 17.8 minutes as a freshman with the Denver Pioneers in the Sun Belt conference.

"I felt I needed to make a change, and I thought right away about Western," Vaughan said. "I had an unofficial visit a while ago and loved the campus. The school is well known academically and has a strong basketball program.

"It'll be tough not playing next year, for sure. But I feel like I can push people in practice and push them like it's a game scenerio."

The five-foot-nine play-maker spent part of last summer with the Canadian junior women's team at the Under-18 Tournament of the Americas. She's poised to compete for the national juniors at the FIBA Under-19 worlds in Bangkok, Thailand.

"That'll be a great experience for her," Barrie said. "For us, she'll bring the same kinds of qualities that Amanda Anderson did in terms of leadership. They're different in that Amanda is more of a pure scorer and Jenny is more of a traditional point guard.

"She's made it clear she wants to be involved in the team. She'll practice. She'll do everything with us except play in the games."

Barrie has known Vaughan since she was an Hamilton-area elementary school student attending local basketball camps. She was a captain of Ontario's gold-medal provincial teams in 2005 and '07 and helped Hamilton St. Mary's win OFSAA senior gold in '05.


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