MURFREESBORO — Vanderbilt had to go a little deeper into its bench than expected in Tuesday’s 72-53 victory over Middle Tennessee State.
The Commodores knew starting forward Andre Walker would miss his fourth straight game due to mononucleosis. But just hours before tip-off, they got word that reserve forward Lance Goulbourne was ineligible due to an NCAA infraction.
According to coach Kevin Stallings, Goulbourne received an extra benefit last year. Stallings said a senior student, who was also a team manager, purchased a Vanderbilt parking pass on behalf of Goulbourne. Though Goulbourne paid for the pass, the team manager was considered a staff member.
“What they told us is he received $258 dollars over … and I don’t know how you do that. He paid for the pass,” Stallings said. “Nevertheless, we try to follow the rules.”
Goulbourne, a junior, averages 8.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 22.8 minutes a game.
“It was really rough because Lance has been playing really good for us lately,” forward Jeffery Taylor said. “When something like that happens, you just have to pull it together. We are a really close-knit team so it didn't really shake us up too much. It gives other people opportunties to step up and play. And people like Joe Duffy played really well for us. We just pulled together. People had to step up and play big roles.”
Stallings said the incident came to light when Goulbourne got double-billed for a parking ticket.
“He paid it the first time but when he went to show them that he didn’t owe them the second time, I think that is when they red flagged the thing,” Stallings said. “Go figure.”
Goulbourne attended the game in street clothes and did not sit with the team on the bench. Stallings did not know if Goulbourne would be eligible for Vanderbilt’s next game against Marquette on Dec. 29 at Memorial Gym.
He had started the previous two games in place of Walker, who Stallings said would be available for Marquette.
Freshman forward Rod Odom got the start against MTSU and Duffy, a senior forward, chipped in 16 minutes off the bench.
“You can’t ask for anything more. I really commend my team,” Stallings said. “I really thought we played hard. I thought we played with purpose.”