Billy Oliver Announces the End of His Playing Career at Penn State

Story posted February 11, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Dan Smith

Penn State forward Billy Oliver announced that his playing career at Penn State is over during a postgame press conference following Penn State's win over Nebraska Saturday afternoon.

Oliver has suffered symptoms related to concussions and migraine headaches throughout his career, and elected to end his playing career for the Nittany Lions as a result. A redshirt junior, Oliver will have a medical scholarship through next season, but his scholarship will not count against Penn State's limit of 13 scholarships for men's basketball next season.

Oliver spent the week mulling over his decision while still practicing with the team.

"It's by no means a light decision," Oliver said. "It took a lot of thought. But it's the right decision."

Oliver started 20 games this season for the Nittany Lions and averaged 6.8 points per game. He missed four games after experiencing headaches during Penn State's Jan. 15 game against Minnesota. He most recently played at Michigan State on Wednesday, and then made the decision to stop playing on Thursday.

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said that the decision was tough on everyone involved.

"We've had a really tough couple days," Chambers said. "The job becomes very hard during those times."

Chambers spoke highly of Oliver's character and of his team's admiration for Oliver's work ethic.

"He's such a great kid, with big time character" Chambers said. "We told the team last night. Extremely emotional talk."

Oliver's roommate is the team's star point guard, junior Tim Frazier. Frazier was emotional while talking about Oliver.

"Billy means a lot to me and to this team," Frazier said. "He's been there through everything."

Frazier said the decision was a testament to Oliver's selfless character.

"For him to make this decision tells you the type of person he is," Frazier said. "He thought about the team, he thought about us."

Oliver said that his decision partially stemmed from an inability to ignore injury concerns while on the court.

"I've been hit in the head a few times," he said. "As much as I don't want it to be, it is in the back of my head when I am playing. It's supposed to be a free mind. I think it's time to move on."

Going forward, Oliver intends to graduate in May with a degree in finance, and plans to remain at Penn State to finish a degree in economics in the fall. He also said he hopes to start a Master's degree.

As for his role with the team, Oliver said that he will continue to be a part of the program.

"I can imagine it's going to be a graduate assistant-type job," he said. "I'll do whatever I can to help these guys. They've done so much for me."

Chambers referenced his 2-year old son, who was with him at the press conference, in praising Oliver's character.

"I hope Ryan, my son, ends up like Billy Oliver someday," Chambers said. "He's just an unbelievable person."

Dan Smith is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and is the Executive Editor of ComRadio. To contact him, email des5249@psu.edu.