This week in Duke history: Odd NCAA rule prevents All-American from having all four years of eligibility

NCAA rules for many topics, and especially eligibility, can be quite confusing—and sometimes even nonsensical.

1985 Duke graduate and men's tennis player Chaim Arlosorov found that out the hard way.

At the age of 24, he played his freshman year at Duke in 1982, but earned just two other seasons of eligibility before a federal appeals court said his time as a collegiate athlete was up.

Arlosorov was from Israel and served in the military until age 21. After completing his duties, he played organized, amateur-level tennis in his home country in addition to playing in the Davis Cup for Israel. According to NCAA rules at the time, this organized tennis after playing in the military past the age of 20 counted as a year of eligibility.

He still had one year of eligibility when he started, and in that freshman year he became the first Duke player to be an All-American, when he went 33-6 in singles action.

Arlosorov had to wait a year to play again due to the NCAA regulation. He was able to play another two after a U.S. District court granted him a preliminary injunction, which The Chronicle recapped May 12, 1983.

But he struggled after his freshman season and never returned to national prominence. He wound up only playing three seasons in Durham, but graduated with his degree and is now an orthopedic surgeon in Florida.

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