It turns out high-scoring Spartans men’s basketball player Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath is ineligible to play for Langley-based Trinity Western Unversity (TWU) for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
A statement from the university blamed an “administrative error related to the misapplication of the U.S. student transfer rule” in the case of Gilbreath, who is from Amarillo, Texas.
“We are incredibly disappointed that we did not catch this,” said Jeff Gamache, TWU director of athletics.
“As soon as we realized our error, we reported it to Canada West and U SPORTS. We are now awaiting a hearing with U SPORTS to understand the long-term implications. It guts me to know that Ja’Qualyn and the team have been impacted by our administrative error.”
Under the U SPORTS eligibility rule governing a student-athlete who transfers to a U SPORTS member institution team from a “non-Canadian degree granting institutions,” can play in Canada, but if the athete is “not a Canadian Citizen or does not have permanent resident status in Canada” they must wait 365 days from the date that they last played at their former institution.
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Gilbreath, a 6’1” point guard, has been a big contributor on the Spartans team, with a scoring average of 27 points in conference play, including five games in a row where he scored more than 30.
As a member of U SPORTS, TWU Spartans currently compete in 11 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track and field, as well as women’s rugby sevens.
TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men’s hockey and as an independent team in men’s rugby.
The men’s and women’s hockey programs will begin playing in Canada West and U SPORTS in 2020-21.
Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 12 U SPORTS team championships and 27 Canada West team championships and two BCIHL championships.