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Rejected by the NCAA, Penn State transfer Lauren Ebo to sit out Texas' 2020-21 season

Texas basketball players Lauren Ebo, left, and Elyssa Coleman talk ahead of a game against Louisiana Tech Wednesday. Ebo, a transfer from Penn State, was denied immediate eligibility by the NCAA and will redshirt this season.

Texas women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer said Friday that the NCAA has denied an appeal by junior center Lauren Ebo to play this season. Ebo transferred to Texas from Penn State in April.

Since she transferred, Ebo needed to ask the NCAA to waive a rule that requires her to sit out the first season at her new school. Texas has declined to publicly state why Ebo's appeal should have been granted. 

The NCAA, however, had appeared to be rubber-stamping its approval for most appeals this offseason. Of the 63 appeals tracked by wbbblog.com, only three were denied — Ebo, Duke's Jiselle Havas and Albany's Fatima Lee.

Schaefer said Ebo still could get a reprieve for the 2020-21 season if legislation regarding transfers is approved later this month. But for now, Texas is treating this as Ebo's redshirt season.

"Our people here, they've gone to the ends of the Earth to try to make this happen," Schaefer said. "I probably shouldn't get into it here, I need to probably bite my tongue. 

"It's just crazy and so disappointing. We're supposed to be in the kid business. When things happen outside of people's control, you think that we can, as adults, we can see that. This is where we are."

Ebo averaged 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game at Penn State last season. She's 6-foot-4; now, with Ebo's denied appeal and Elyssa Coleman's knee injury, freshmen DeYona Gaston and Precious Johnson are the only players taller than six feet that Texas can pair in the paint this winter with 6-5 forward Charli Collier.

Texas is allowed to have as many as 15 scholarship players. But the Longhorns are now down to 10 available players.

When asked about adding a graduate transfer at the semester break, Schaefer said such a move is not allowed. He added that scouring the campus for a walk-on is also "not part of the equation" during this coronavirus-altered campaign. (Needing an extra body before the start of last season, Texas convinced former Houston Baptist guard and McCombs School student Sophie Taylor to walk on to the team).

Texas (3-0) hosts Texas A&M (3-0) on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.. The Aggies and Longhorns were ranked 12th and 25th in the Associated Press poll this week.