Robert Morris' Aaron Tate grabs a rebound last year against Sacred Heart.
By Megan Ryan / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robert Morris men’s basketball senior forward Aaron Tate will sit out the rest of this season and seek another year of eligibility from the NCAA in 2016-17.
Tate, who was the team’s MVP last season when the Colonials won the Northeast Conference and competed in the NCAA tournament, had surgery for a lower body injury in late October. While he played some minutes in the first three games of the nonconference season, he hasn't returned to competitive action since mid-November.
“It's what’s best for him,” coach Andy Toole said. “Obviously, he’s not able to be on the floor and be able to perform in the way that he’s been capable in years past. It’s also not fair to him to ask him to play an eight-game season for your senior year, and physically, he’s not 100 percent ready to do that yet."
Toole said the extra year would require approval from the NCAA at the end of the season, but the variety of lower leg injuries Tate has endured — including shin splits in 2014-15 — should make the player’s case pretty clear.
“I don't see any roadblocks or anything that’ll jump up and inhibit his ability to get a fifth year,” Toole said.
Senior guard Rodney Pryor also expressed on Twitter last year his desire to play another year in college. He had season-ending foot and knee injuries before the start of his freshman and sophomore junior college seasons. Toole said the team would explore that option after the season, but Pryor also could decide to play professionally.
After the postgame scuffle at Saint Francis, Pa., on Saturday in which Robert Morris (6-17, 4-6) lost, 90-78, the NEC has decided to not suspend any players. Instead, both schools will take part in an hour-long sportsmanship presentation sometime this week.
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