J.R. Smith
(Tracy Wilcox/PGA Tour)

Two-time NBA champion and 16-year pro J.R. Smith has enrolled at North Carolina A&T. He is pursuing a degree in liberal studies and wants to join the golf team. Smith’s classes will start on August 18. The NCAA is currently figuring out his eligibility, but there should be no reason JR is not free to play collegiate golf.

Yes, Smith is 35 years old and played professional sports. How would he be eligible to play golf in college? Despite committing to play basketball for UNC back in 2004, Smith opted to go straight into the NBA out of high school. Because he never went to college, he never used any of his amateur eligibility.

The NC A&T golf coach had this to say on JR Smith:

It’s a big deal for A&T, and it’s a big deal for him. It’s not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to have a thought, a dream, an idea, and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction. He’s a former professional athlete, but (it’s) a unique set of circumstances. He didn’t go to college, never matriculated, the clock never started.

Richard Watkins, North Carolina A&T golf coach, via PGA Tour

JR Smith Looks Forward to Being Part of the Aggie Community

Smith has played golf for about 12 years, but he has never stepped foot in a college classroom. He is excited to be a part of the NC A&T community:

I’ve got no free time now. Raising kids and going to school, my schedule will be full. I can’t wait to be a part of the HBCU family. I’ve really been embraced by everybody so far on campus. I’m looking forward to start going to football games and repping Aggie Pride.

JR Smith, via PGA Tour

It’s not every day that a college golf team can boast an NBA champion on their roster. But then again, JR Smith isn’t your everyday kind of guy.


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