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Nice NCAA?

August 21, 2003 Columns No Comments

The New “Nice” NCAA

by Jed Tai

Is the NCAA getting soft or what?

In the olden days, the NCAA wouldn’t give an appeal two seconds of
their time. We have our rules, we don’t care what extreme circumstances you
might be under. The coach that recruited you left and you’re stuck at a
school? Tough. The school you’re at is going on probation because of stuff
that happened years ago and you won’t ever be able to play in the NCAA
Tournament? Sorry to hear that. Tear up your knee one game more than allowed
for a redshirt your senior season? Good luck in your recovery, you had a great
career. Oh, there are allegations of a mistake with your high school
transcript years ago? You’re suspended until further notice.

But it appears that the once draconian NCAA is lightening up. The
organization recently approved a waiver that will allow the players remaining
at Baylor to transfer out without having to serve usual one-year redshirt year
required for transfers. Back at NBA Draft time, they ruled that players could
truly “test the waters” by allowing them to participate in the Chicago
Pre-Draft Camp without penalizing them for games played as they had done
before. Heck, the benevolence has even spread onto the National Letter of
Intent Steering Committee, which allowed incoming freshman Kris Humphries a
full release from his letter at Duke to play immediately at Minnesota without
sitting out any action.

In reality, what the NCAA has done is basically caught up with what
it’s all about — it’s for the kids and it’s good for the game. In the Baylor
situation, what good would it have done if the remaining players were forced to
sit out a year after transferring. They did nothing wrong. If they really had
a choice, they wouldn’t be leaving – star forward Lawrence Roberts (who’s
heading to Mississippi State) and guard Kenny Taylor (to Texas) have even
stated how much they loved the campus and the school. It’s not as if they are
taking advantage of a bad situation. They’re just getting what they deserve –
a chance to play next season, like they would have had if all this mess at
Baylor had never happened. Kudos to the big guys in Indianapolis for
recognizing this.

But at the same time that generous act occurred, the NCAA has recently
announced that they won an appeal for the 2-in-4 rule limiting exempted events
to still be in place for the 2003-04 season. This after the rule was removed
by a judge in Ohio a month ago. Schools that thought had finished off their
schedules are now scrambling for dates and games, and organizers of events they
thought were taking place are now extremely nervous that their events might not
take place.

Ah, it’s the old NCAA that we know. Some things never really do


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