Schoen leaves Lipscomb U. after tournament confusion
Alan Stewart, Sports Editor
Craig Schoen, South Central’s all-time leading scorer, has been granted a release from Lipscomb University after it was learned the school would not be eligible to compete in the men’s Division I NCAA Tournament until his senior year.
While he was being recruited, Schoen was told repeatedly by the coaching staff at LU that after a probationary period of one year the school would be eligible for play in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament and NCAA tourney in his sophomore season.
The probationary period for a new NCAA Division I school is actually four years, however Lipscomb was already in its third year when recruiting Schoen, having joined the NCAA in 1999-2000.
The NCAA said teams in the newly-formed Atlantic Sun Conference had to wait an additional year to be part of the Division I tournament.
If it all sounds confusing, join Schoen, who completed his freshman season, in that respect.
‘About a week before school was out, I found it on the Internet that we wouldn’t be eligible until I was a senior. I didn’t want to wait that long to compete in a tournament,’ Schoen said.
Schoen, who started 25 of 28 games for the Bisons (8-20) and averaged 6.0 ppg., 2.9 apg. and led the team in assists (115), said he took the information to head coach Scott Sanderson.
‘They said they told us up front, but I know they didn’t. My family was there and they all remember them saying it would be my sophomore year. Then they said they told all of the players and all of them said they all heard it would be this coming season, too,’ Schoen said. ‘One other guy left for the same reason.’
The point guard said he was a bit upset at first, but realized what transpired was out of his control and said he held no ill will towards Sanderson or his program.
‘It was a really good experience and everything, and I had a lot of fun while I was down there,’ Schoen said.
So far, three schools have expressed interest in Schoen, including Georgetown College (where his oldest brother, Scott, was a star player), University of Southern Indiana and Indiana University Southeast.
Randall Schoen, Craig’s father, also put in a call to the family of Western Kentucky’s Anthony Winchester, who was an AAU teammate of Schoen for several years, to see if the Hilltoppers might have an interest after the release of point guard Patrick Sparks. Another plus on the WKU front is the recent hiring of Darrin Horn, who comes to the Toppers after a four-year stint under Tom Crean and the fast-paced Marquette Golden Eagles.
‘I don’t know if they’ll take me, but that would be a nice place to go because I like that style,’ Schoen said.
‘I just want to go somewhere that’s going to win, and has won year in and year out. I’ll go over everything and make a decision, but that’s the main thing. I just want to win.’