Increased penalties by the NCAA against sophomore center Marco Baldi are "shocking and exceedingly harsh," St. John's Athletic Director Jack Kaiser said in confirming the action.
Baldi, a 6-11 native of Italy, was declared ineligible for the 1986-87 season and four games of the 1987-88 season by the NCAA for accepting a plane ticket from his club team, Simac, to try out for the Italian national team in Rome last summer.
Originally, he had been suspended for 16 games and sat out St. John's final two games of the NCAA tournament last spring. St. John's appealed the penalty, and the new sanctions followed. Baldi played sparingly last season but was being counted on as a starter this year.