Murphy Holloway's transfer options are now limited.
His former school, Mississippi, denied his appeal of an earlier ruling that declined to release him to his top two choices: South Carolina and Clemson.
Holloway still could play basketball at one of those two schools, but only after paying his own way while he sat out a year.
The Dutch Fork High graduate could go on scholarship at a smaller instate school. Two sources said if Holloway chose Coastal Carolina, Mississippi likely would sign off on his hardship request to play right away.
Attempts to reach Holloway on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Holloway announced two weeks ago he was leaving Mississippi, where he played two seasons. He started 29 games and was the Rebels' third-leading scorer last season. His stated desire was to get closer to home to help take care of his six-month old daughter and sick mother.
But Mississippi turned down his request to attend USC, because it is a fellow SEC school. Mississippi athletics director Pete Boone told the Jackson Clarion-Leader said his school had to "live and learn" after giving Malcolm White a full release last year, then seeing White go to LSU.
"This time, we just decided to be a little more business-like with our approach," Boone said. "It's no disrespect at all to how we feel about Murphy. He's a good person who has a burden to take care of his daughter. We tried to accommodate his wish to play basketball closer to home."
So Holloway was given a full release to Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Wofford, Winthrop and other smaller schools. But not Clemson.
"We heard some drumbeats about Clemson (before the release was given), and that concerned us," Boone told the Clarion-Ledger. "Based on the information we were given by Murphy when he wanted his release, we feel we gave him plenty of options to stay close to home and continue playing basketball. We presented our case to the appeals board, and they felt our decision was reasonable considering the information."
Holloway has said he is pursuing a hardship waiver from the NCAA, which would allow him to play right away. The NCAA has granted it in certain cases: Elliot Williams left Duke and was permitted to transfer and play right away at Memphis this past season because of his mother's illness. Tennessee's Tyler Smith also was permitted to do the same after transferring from Iowa to be closer to his father, who had cancer and died soon after the transfer.
Holloway still could play at USC or Clemson if he were to change his mind about walking on for a year. He said earlier this week he "wouldn't want to pay to go to school."
Even if Holloway had been granted a release to USC, he may have had to go the walk-on route since the Gamecocks do not have an open scholarship. Clemson does have spots available.
Instate tuition at USC this past year was $9,156, while Clemson's was $10,688, according to U.S. News and World Report.