After transferring from Binghamton to Penn State at the conclusion of last season, junior guard Sam Sessoms will be immediately eligible to play for the Nittany Lions after he was granted a waiver by the NCAA. The news was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Friday afternoon.
The former BU point guard won America East (AE) Rookie of the Year in 2018-19 and led the league in scoring as a sophomore last season. Despite Sessoms’ efforts in his second year with the program, the Bearcats finished last in the AE, missing the playoffs. Sessoms announced his decision to transfer in March.
Athletes in men’s and women’s basketball and other revenue sports are required to redshirt one season after transferring unless they are awarded a waiver. However, with the unique circumstances surrounding this year’s college basketball season, the NCAA has been especially liberal in granting waivers.
On Oct. 14, the NCAA Division I Council extended eligibility for winter athletes, granting them an additional season of eligibility and an additional year to complete it, extending the traditional four years of eligibility and suspending the five-year limitation to complete it. Thus, regardless of whether or not Sessoms redshirted the upcoming season, he would have had two years of eligibility remaining afterward.
Since Sessoms’ commitment to Penn State last spring, the program has seen significant upheaval. Head coach Pat Chambers resigned on Oct. 21 after an internal investigation into inappropriate conduct.
With former assistant head coach Jim Ferry appointed as interim head coach for the upcoming season, the Nittany Lions are expected to compete for an NCAA tournament bid this season. While Penn State has historically been one of the weaker men’s basketball programs in the Big Ten, it had been on the rise in recent years. The team went 21-10 last season and were expected to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. However, they were unable to compete in the Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament or March Madness due to the abrupt suspension of the season.
Sessoms is expected to immediately compete for a spot in the Nittany Lions’ starting five and play a prominent role on the team in his junior season.