|Amanda Gil (1)|
-Volleyblog Seattle photos by Leslie Hamann
After three appeals to the NCAA, Washington middle blocker Amanda Gil has learned she will not be granted one more year of volleyball eligibility.
“The appeals have run their course for Amanda Gil,” says Washington’s Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, Kyle Pifer. “We made three requests to the NCAA, and all were denied, unfortunately.”
“I’m happy to finally get answer,” says Gil, from her home in Northern California, “even if it isn’t the answer I was looking for.”
Gil entered UCLA in 2008, and was granted a release immediately after the 2009 season to transfer to Washington. Under Pac-12 rules, she had to sit out the 2010 season. After a season-ending leg operation before the 2011 campaign, she came back in 2012 to lead the nation in blocking.
In most cases, NCAA athletes are given up to five years to complete four years of eligibility. Sixth years are surprisingly common, says Pifer, granted by the NCAA when athletes if athletes miss two seasons for circumstances beyond their control. In most cases, those circumstances relate to injuries.
In Gil’s case, the question was whether the transfer from UCLA was within her control. Gil maintained the transfer was, among other things, primarily for academic reasons. But the NCAA ultimately found it did not meet the “beyond control” standard.
“We will miss her,” says Washington coach Jim McLaughlin. “I loved coaching Amanda.”
“I’ve been waiting for a decision one way or another for months,” Gil says.” The longer you have to think about it, the harder it is to make decisions about your future.”
In the long run, Gil hopes that future will include more volleyball, including a chance to compete professionally overseas and a shot at a spot on the US National Team roster, perhaps joining Washington alumni Courtney Thompson and Tama Miyashiro, both Olympians.
In the short run, she needs to get her knee back to full strength.
“I’m 100% committed to getting that leg ready to play,” says Gil. “I’ll be back.”
“She’ll be successful because of who she is,” says McLaughlin. “If she comes back strong, she can compete at the highest level. But the most important thing now is for her to get fully healed and strengthen that leg.”
Gil has been cleared for physical therapy, and hopes to begin lifting weights in the weeks to come. She plans to continue coaching boys’ high school volleyball and girls’ club volleyball in the Bay Area.
And she leaves Washington with good feelings.
“I just want to thank everyone at Washington, my coaches, my teammates, the staff, the fans. You don’t know how truly grateful I am for all the love and support you’ve given me.”