CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami Hurricanes forward Dewan Hernandez has decided to leave the University of Miami to prepare for the NBA draft following a ruling by the NCAA.
The NCAA said Hernandez would be required to miss the remainder of the season and sit out 40 percent of next season's games "for entering into an agreement with and accepting benefits from an agent," the NCAA said Monday.
Hernandez, who changed his name from Dewan Huell, has been sidelined all season while the school and the NCAA reviewed his eligibility. He averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Hurricanes last season.
"According to the facts of the case, which were agreed upon by the university, Hernandez agreed to receive monthly payments from an agent and accepted other benefits from the individual," the NCAA said in a statement. "According to the guidelines adopted by NCAA membership, the starting point for these violations is permanent ineligibility, but the NCAA staff recognized mitigating circumstances based on the specific facts of the case when making its decision."
Miami athletic director Blake James released a statement Monday calling the decision "not only disappointing, but unfair."
"Based on the totality of the facts, the university is not in agreement with the decisions and interpretations of this case and made it well-known to the NCAA staff that we have many reservations about the reliability of evidence and ultimate conclusions," James said. "Dewan was cooperative throughout this process and was transparent about what had occurred, admitting to the mistakes that he made. I am one of the NCAA's strongest supporters and I am actively involved in its leadership, but I would be remiss in my obligations to the association, all student-athletes and to the University of Miami if I did not speak up."
Hernandez's attorney, Jason Setchen, hinted at what was to come earlier this month on Twitter, writing that the NCAA's ruling "is abhorrent and completely unfair."
Words cannot express my level of frustration and disgust in today’s decision by the @ncaa in Dewan Hernandez’s eligibility matter. The arbitrary manner in which they dispense punishment in certain cases is abhorrent and completely unfair. #ncaa #canes #miami #theu #sportslaw— Jason Setchen (@AthleteDefender) January 3, 2019
Setchen remained hopeful that the NCAA would send "some good news" before Sunday night's home game against Florida State.
To all of you on @twitter that have supported Dewan Hernandez I/we want to say thank you. Your support has been overwhelming and it has lifted Dewan’s spirits throughout this process. Let’s hope we get some good news before the FSU game on Sunday. #theu #canes #miami #umiami— Jason Setchen (@AthleteDefender) January 25, 2019
He also tweeted that he's "known of murder trials that have required less deliberation."
Hernandez said he leaves the school he grew up wanting to play for "with a heavy heart" but takes "great pride" having been a part of the program.
"While I am saddened by the NCAA's decision, I look forward to starting the next chapter of my life and focusing my energy on preparing to compete at the next level," Hernandez said in a statement.