UI's Hawkins may not return

The chances of Festus Hawkins ever returning to the University of Illinois are "slim to none," his mother says.

On Tuesday, the NCAA upheld its ruling that Hawkins, a freshman center, was an academic nonqualifier and hence, unable to receive a scholarship, UI coach Lon Kruger said.

Hawkins, who likely will attend a junior college near his Pine Bluff, Ark., home, must pay the University of Illinois a bill of about $8,000 for first-semester out-of-state tuition and fees if he wishes to return.

"If I have to pay $8,000 ... I'd say the chances of him coming back there are slim and none," said Hawkins' mother, Geraldine Thompson.

Prior to the season, the NCAA clearinghouse ruled that Hawkins failed to meet core curriculum requirements at Dollarway High School. The course in question was an algebra class that he took at a junior college the summer after his sophomore year.

The UI fought the ruling, only to be denied by the NCAA's Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee on Dec. 2, then again on Tuesday.

If Hawkins was to return to Illinois this year, he would have had to pay the $8,000 he owed, plus another $8,000 for the second semester.

"He can't financially do it," Kruger said.

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