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October 17, 2012Last week, John Calipari said if the season started the next day, Nerlens Noel would play for the Wildcats.
On Wednesday, the NCAA backed up that assessment to USA Today.
NCAA spokesman Bob Williams told USA Today in an email that "Nerlens Noel is cleared to practice and compete."
Kentucky hasn't made an official statement on Noel's eligibilty and seems unlikely to do so. In a text message, spokesman DeWayne Peevy said, "No update on Nerlens Noel. We will not confirm eligibility of any student-athlete until the first day of competition."
The Wildcats' regular-season opener is Nov. 9 against Maryland. Their first exhibition game is Nov. 1 against Northwood (Fla.).
Calipari said last week at Kentucky's media day that Noel would practice and play if the season were set to start. Calipari reiterated that in a Wednesday interview on ESPN, saying Noel had been cleared to practice and play.
Sports Illustrated reported in August that the NCAA was reviewing Noel's eligibility in part because of questions about how he paid for unofficial recruiting visits.