[Previously Printed Article-- Dec 8, 2010]
The NCAA apparently has more global governing rights than the U.N.
Despite the two extra letters added onto its acronym, the NCAA has far less power, influence, and relevance as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Yet, recently they have bestowed upon themselves intercontinental interpretational duties.
Now, the U.N. is probably better suited for the task of investigating the Turkish Basketball scene--seeing how the NCAA is a little shy on interpreters in that region—however, the U.N. sort of made it its mission to seek out justice not gun it down.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I am talking about the just shy of 7 foot center from Turkey, Enes Kanter, who is presently awaiting a decision on an appeal to the NCAA after the organization declared him ineligible to play for The University of Kentucky about a month ago.
Normally, I would assume most people outside of the Big Blue Nation would not know nor care about the likes of Kanter. As it happened, Karma intervened with a side of irony and made this news for sports fans and athletes everywhere.
If you’re still reading to this point, I’m going to assume you (the majority of readers), are familiar with the Auburn Quarterback presently headlining the Heisman tour, Cam Newton.
Maybe you heard his name when Bowl Games were being announced on Sunday. Or, maybe you were watching him as he lead the Tigers to victory over ‘Ol Ball Coach in the South Eastern Conference Championship on Saturday.
What I hope you heard about Newtown in addition to that, was the Monday Auburn University suspension, Tuesday NCAA acceptance of university petition for reinstatement, and Wednesday back in uniform saga all occurring just days before the perfect season came to an end.
But what did the star quarterback do to get himself into that kind of pickle so late in the season? There’ve been no New York or Chicago reporters churning out manifestos about Newtown’s eligibility. Come to think of it, he sort of came out of nowhere...
If you think hard enough though, you may remember him as the Freshman living in Tim Tebow’s shadow down in Gainesville, Fla. Then of course, he got injured his sophomore year and was also arrested on felony charges of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice. All of which were dropped, of course. Newtown still withdrew from Florida, and spent a season in junior college.
Which brings us to the grand finale. Allegations that Newton’s father Cecil was attempting to auction him off to Mississippi State earlier this year became a little too real last week so Auburn temporarily removed Newton until the NCAA completed an incredibly thorough investigation and reinstated him the next day.
Why? 'Cam didn’t know.' How this glorified opinion is supported by evidence remains a mystery. Now, I’m not going to touch on the issues of morality that may seem conflicted for Newton, Sr. as a spiritual authority; instead, my concern is with the governing body of college sports.
In most of the opinions I’ve read on the matter, I’m certainly not alone in believing that Cam Newton and Auburn University are likely not innocent bystanders. Given the severity of the offense and the NCAA’s recent history of sanctioning kids for sitting next to the wrong person during campus visits, it just seems a bit unsettling (not to mention ethic-blind) that compliance officers essentially handed Newton and Auburn a Heisman shaped bar of soap and instructed them to scrub their palms real good.
As for the swindling reverend, he was told to keep his distance…whatever that means.
Now coming back to the aforementioned teen from Turkey: Kanter moved (along with his family) to Calif. so that he could play basketball his senior year in order to gain NCAA eligibility. Not only does that mean the Kanters moved halfway across the globe to follow the rules, it also means that the NCAA had been aware of Kanter and his previous position for quite some time.
The position that now has kept him off his team entirely is that of "professional" at age 16. Though our laws regarding minors don’t have quite the wingspan NCAA eligibility definitions do, I hear playing for a club over there is kind of like making varsity.
Or more realistically, it is like going to a prep school on scholarship; not exactly a foreign concept to the NCAA, right? Wrong. The estimated 33 thousand Kanter earned (it is also estimated that the majority of that money was used for all living costs associated) is only a fraction of what he was offered but his father TURNED DOWN excess funds.
To add insult to injury, the NCAA waited months for a sports writer (who coincidentally made false accusations just months prior about former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe and the Birmingham, Ala. School District) to launch his own "investigation" of third party accounts (via a translator keep in mind) of facts that failed to morph into documentation. Unless of course, you took his Swiss cheese reporting as such-- and is seemed as though the NCAA did.
Moral of the story? While the NCAA and the media are trying to knock the Big Bad Calipari’s house down, Tennessee and Connecticut were in such blatant violations, they too slapped their own wrists before the NCAA even noticed.
So, while Bruce Pearl gets his cell phone taken away for two months and Newton may very well win a BCS title (and a Heisman), a young man who worked so hard to get there may never play college basketball.
Seriously America, can we just lock Coach Cal in a room with John Chaney for an hour and call it even?
Nevertheless, there's always a glimmer of sliver in every storm cloud; Tee-shirt printing companies across the state of Oregon are going to make a killing off the words, "Scam Newton".