AL HAMNIK: Valpo's Martin awaiting NCAA ruling on sixth year at ND

2012-03-24T18:45:00Z 2012-03-26T18:55:24Z AL HAMNIK: Valpo's Martin awaiting NCAA ruling on sixth year at NDBy Al Hamnik Times Columnist
March 24, 2012 6:45 pm  • 

Scott Martin waits anxiously for the phone to ring, his email to pop up, or the overnight mail to arrive.

It will come from NCAA headquarters and deliver, hopefully, this message: "Your request for a sixth year of eligibility at Notre Dame has been approved."

In a Feb. 6 teleconference, coach Mike Brey announced both Martin and Tim Abromaitis would apply for that extra year.

When the Irish were eliminated by Xavier in the second round of the NCAA tournament March 16, Brey said he was hoping for a decision soon.

The NCAA usually grants a sixth year to players who have missed two full seasons due to injury.

Martin, a Valparaiso grad, sat out one year after transferring from Purdue and another when he tore his ACL in preseason. He wanted to be closer to home because his father was being treated in Chicago for a rare eye cancer and Martin would take his dad there.

"Everything's fine now," he said.

Abromaitis passed on his sophomore season to save a year of eligibility and played only two games this season before tearing his ACL.

The young Irish were 22-12 overall, including 16-1 at home, and 13-5 against the Big East.

Imagine what a boost to their program it would be, having one or both return.

"I'm optimistic," Martin said Saturday. "We have a good feeling about it but it's still up in the air."

The 6-foot-8 guard called it a "collaborative effort" between the coaching staff, himself and the compliance office in working with the NCAA.

"It's a whole bunch of things. A lot of paperwork. That's for sure," Martin said.

Like they say in the Army, it's hurry up and wait.

"I think it's the same (for Brey) -- optimistic and hopeful," Martin added. "But you just don't know."

Robbie Hummel, a teammate of Martin's at Valparaiso High School, received a fifth year at Purdue after twice blowing out his ACL. His college career ended in good health.

Martin says he's prepared for whatever outcome. Having started 66 of the last 67 games at Notre Dame and shining bright as one of Brey's most efficient leaders ever, he's ready to move on.

"I would be very happy with what I accomplished. The teams I've been on, I'm very proud of the work we've done and the games we played," Martin said.

"It's about building relationships and making friends that last forever. It's more than I could ever ask for."

Brey has often used the physical and emotional toughness of kids like Martin and former recruit Luke Harangody in praising region players and this season was no different.

"I don't know if I've ever had a captain do a better job (leading) with his partner (Abromaitis) going down. He's been fabulous. He's a coach on the court," Brey said of Martin.

"I hope we can get him back."

For student-athletes like Hummel and Martin, love of the game and a tireless work ethic is a part of their DNA that leaves an everlasting mark on programs.

Martin has his degree, so if the NCAA does says no, he will sit down with Brey and discuss the future. But for now, all they can do is sweat it out.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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