BOWLING GREEN - Ronald Lewis has asked for a release from his scholarship on the men's basketball team at Bowling Green, school officials said yesterday.
The school said it would grant the request after an investigation by the department into suspicions that there may have been communication between another Division I program and either Lewis or members of his family regarding a possible transfer.
Such communication, without prior written approval by the school, would be a violation of NCAA rules.
Lewis, a 6-4 guard, led the Falcons in scoring last season with 17.0 points per game.
"We have reason to believe that some contact may have occurred" between Lewis and another school, said BG athletic director Paul Krebs. "We are in the process of forwarding information to the NCAA, and beyond that I do not wish to comment on the situation."
Krebs said that such an investigation would be conducted by the NCAA rather than by the school or the Mid-American Conference.
Lewis' mother, Sheila Carter, said neither Lewis nor any member of his family has been in contact with another school.
"No one in our family has been contacted by any institution regarding Ronald transferring," Carter said in a statement. "Ronald has been home for two weeks and had a chance to reflect on his last two years with BGSU and the amount of kids who have transferred from BG and he doesn't see how he can be successful as a basketball player at BG.
"Other kids have left the program and been granted a release. Why has our family [been] the only family to be accused of wrongdoing - because he's a definite asset to the team?
"Since BG has chose to go public and accuse our family of wrongdoing, they will hear from our lawyer and a later public statement."
Carter said Lewis decided to leave the program to better pursue an NBA career.
"Ron's decision was based solely upon BG's past history of players and coaches leaving the basketball program and Ron's desire to play in the NBA," Carter said in a statement. "BGSU knew this was a goal of Ronald upon recruiting him and that goal has not detoured. It has increased and it's his desire to do everything the right way to make that dream come true."
Lewis was not available for comment. Coach Dan Dakich is on vacation this week and was not available for comment.
Last season Lewis' 17.0-points-per-game average ranked him sixth in the MAC. The league's only returning player with a higher scoring average is Toledo's Keith Triplett, who averaged 19.6. Lewis, who turned 20 on July 27, also ranked second in the MAC in free-throw shooting last year with an 82 percent mark.
Lewis has scored 877 points in his first two seasons with the Falcons, the second-highest total for a sophomore in school history. Anthony Stacey scored 890 points on his way to becoming the school's all-time leading scorer.
If Lewis transferred to another Division I school, NCAA rules require him to sit out one year. He would have two years of eligibility remaining.
Krebs did say that the school would be willing to talk to Lewis should he decide to return to the program.
"Ronald Lewis is a quality young man and was a valuable member of our basketball team last year," Krebs said.
"We don't want to see him leave. If he would express an interest in returning, we would sit down and discuss it with he and his family. We'd be open to it."
Lewis is one of three departures from the program since last season ended.
The others are guard Chris Hobson and forward Isaac Rosefelt, two freshmen on last season's team.
Hobson played in 27 games a year ago, starting twice, and played double-digit minutes in the team's last six games. Hobson averaged 1.9 points and 0.9 rebounds, with a season-high 11 points against Findlay. Rosefeld played just 24 minutes in 14 games.
This summer the Falcons also have added two players to the program - guard Perrick Robinson Jr. and forward Mawel Soler.
Robinson is a 5-9 point guard from Prosser High School in Chicago who averaged 21.9 points, 8.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 6.4 steals per game as a senior.
A three-time all-league performer, Robinson also played in the Illinois Basketball Coaches All-Star Game.
Soler is a 6-6 forward who averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest for Coffeyville, Kan., Community College. Soler, a native of Union City, N.J., helped the Red Ravens post a 31-7 recond and a fifth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament last season.
Another member of the BG men's basketball team, former St. John's Jesuit guard John Floyd, is on crutches from injuries suffered in a car crash one week ago.
Floyd said he will see Dr. Anthony Frogameni today and may need surgery because of an infected cut on his lower right leg.
According to Floyd, the injury occurred while he was helping former St. John's teammate Shane Komives drive his belongings from Denver to Toledo.
"We were near Hugo, Colo., and I swerved to miss an animal on the road," Floyd said.
"I ended up on the right shoulder of the road, lost control and flipped my car three times.
"It was the scariest moment of my life."
Floyd said he doesn't expect the injury to force him to miss any basketball-related activities for the Falcons this season.
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