The University of South Dakota women's basketball program got some big news on Monday, as it learned that Nicole Seekamp - a two-time All-Summit League selection and two-time Summit League Tournament MVP - had been granted a fourth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
That means Seekamp, who averaged 15.6 points and a Summit League-leading 5.1 assists this season, can play for Coyotes in 2015-16 following a two game witholding.
I caught up with the Renmark, South Australia native to get her reaction to the news.
Q: How excited were you to find out that your petition had been granted?
A: Oh my gosh, I was over the moon when [Amy Williams] told me.
Q: Talk about that process. Was it the goal all along to just apply for that and see what happens?
A: They tried a couple of times before, but they didn't really think they had a good case, so they just let it fall off. And then, as soon as the season got done, they just looked into it one more time and they found some good stuff that we could use. We got onto it, our compliance people here, and got information on past emails and other information that I had from other coaches. We produced a good argument and sent a statement on my behalf to them, and also from one of my coaches, and we got it waived. I still have a two game witholding, but that's nothing compared to a whole year really.
Q: For those that don't know, why was this needed? Why had you initially been stripped of that eligibility?
A: Apparently the ruled changed that you couldn't play in an organized competition in your second year out of high school, which would have been 2011 for me. I actually started playing with a team back in Australia back in 2010 and that went to 2011, which was just a couple of games. Originally, I think it had something to do with that. But then I actually played in another organized competition, which was a club thing back in Australia ini 2011, and they said that because I played in that I lost a year of eligibilty. But apparently I signed my National Letter of Intent four days before the rule changed, and so the rule didn't come into effect until after I started playing with that club team, so that was a big part of [my case].
Q: You kind of had to put your life on hold while you awaited this decision. Can you talk about the anxiety that you experienced during all of this?
A: Originally I was going to try and get into some WNBA combines, try to find an agent, and figure out where I wanted to play overseas and whatnot. And then when I found out they were trying to do this, I knew I couldn't make any decisions on that. So while I was waitiing I was trying to keep good relationships with agents so that if anything falls through then I still had that. So for the past couple of months I've been telling agents that I had to wait and see what happened, so it was just a lot of waiting. The decision came a lot sooner than I expected, actually, so now I just have to plan for the future.
Q: So know that you're going to get an opportunity to play, how excited are you for next season?
A: I am ecstatic. The new freshman that are coming in, I've wanted to work with them. It's exciting to see how they play and to play with new people. And also with the returners, just to get that extra year back with them and see how far we can go and if we can go better than this year. Having [Caitlin] Duffy back in, and Abigail Fogg, I'm just really excited to play with some of these girls that I didn't actually get the chance to this year and I hope they're excited, too. I'm just over the moon right now, I really don't even know what to say about it. I'm really excited that I get to come back and improve my game, as well as continue with school and get my Master's.