Posted by Adam Jacobi
Reversing a decision made just two days ago, the NCAA just announced this afternoon that Jeremiah Masoli may, in fact, play for the Ole Miss Rebels, starting tomorrow. Here's the text of the NCAA's decision:
University of Mississippi football student-athlete Jeremiah Masoli may compete immediately, according to a decision today by the NCAA Division I Subcommittee for Legislative Relief. The subcommittee’s decision overturns the staff decision to grant the graduate student transfer waiver with the condition that Masoli could not compete until the 2011-12 academic year.
According to NCAA rules, created by member schools, football graduate student-athletes must receive a waiver in order to compete if they enroll at a university other than where they received their undergraduate degree.
Every NCAA waiver process includes a staff decision first and an opportunity for the school to appeal that decision to an independent committee. This group is comprised of representatives of NCAA member schools and conferences. Throughout both stages of the waiver process, the case is reviewed and evaluated based on the specific facts of that particular case, as disclosed during the review process. In this case, the staff, subcommittee and school all acknowledged the complexity of the waiver request.
The NCAA staff received the waiver request from Ole Miss on Aug. 13 and received the final piece of information from the school on the evening of Aug. 30. After considering that final piece of information, the NCAA staff issued its decision the morning of Aug. 31. The appeal decision was given three days later.
This largely procedural explanation is in relative contrast to the denial from earlier this week, which stated that the intent of the waiver was not to allow an opportunity for athletes to avoid disciplinary action at their initial school.
While that argument isn't inherently incorrect, it's a non sequitur, one that should have prompted an easy response from Ole Miss' lawyers, something like "Would you mind showing me where, in the waiver's guidelines, we might find that 'intent' or 'spirit'?" Clearly, it's not there, because Masoli's going to be playing tomorrow.