Blog Entry

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Posted on: January 7, 2011 8:24 pm
Posted by MATT JONES

The NCAA on Friday reaffirmed its previous ruling that Enes Kanter will never step foot on a basketball court for Kentucky.  The decision was not particularly surprising, as the organization had three times previously ruled against Kanter and seemed for some time to be dead set on drawing an Enes line in the sand, with virtually all other NCAA athletes on one side and Kanter standing on the other.  A myriad of conspiracy theories can be trumped up for the decision, ranging from the NCAA's general dislike of Calipari to its President standing up for his former employer, the University of Washington, where Kanter was committed before flipping and heading to Kentucky. But the simple fact is that a conspiracy theory is not needed for the NCAA to act irrationally.  In fact at this point, a lack of coherent reasoning and consistency seems ingrained in the core fabric of the organization.

The facts of the Enes Kanter situation have always been conceded.  Kanter played in Turkey for two seasons and was paid a sum of money between the ages of 16-17 to be part of the professional club, Fenerbache.  For many national sportswriters and college coaches, for whom nuance and shades of grey are as rare as a dodo bird, that has settled the issue.  However, the NCAA has created a system in recent years to attempt to allow these so-called "professionals" the ability to play college basketball in America.  Up until this point, the NCAA has recognized that the European youth system is different than that of America, with the notion of popular amateur athletics on the University level virtually non-existent.  The best talent of Europe signs early with a professional club and is trained in the equivalent of a basketball academy, with money paid for their training and expenses.  The NCAA has allowed these players to come to the United States and even last year, repealed the antiquated rule that forced them to sit out an equal number of college games to the ones they played for the professional team.

In Kanter's case however, the NCAA deemed $33,000 of payment given to Enes's father to be above what was a "necessary and actual expense."  To the NCAA, that money represented a salary, given because Kanter was a professional.  But of course, that conclusion doesn't pass the smell test.  Does anyone honestly believe that a player would be deemed a professional, while playing for one of the richest clubs in Europe, in one of the most expensive cities in the world (Istanbul) and would only accept $16,500 a year in the process? If Kanter and his club truly considered him to be a professional, why would he have been paid such a small amount?  Kanter's father has insisted that over $20,000 of that money was used for educational expenses, which if true, means that a little over $10,000 over the course of two years made Kanter a professional in the eyes of him and his club.  

While that decision might seem a bit irrational, viewed in the abstract, it could at least be defended.  But of course, the NCAA does not operate in a vacuum, and over the course of the last three months has issued three high-profile decisions allowing three high-profile players to compete despite amateurism violations.  Each could be defended with some tenuous logic when released, but when viewed together with the Kanter decision, no consistent theme can be found.

Take Kansas Freshman Josh Selby. He was suspended for nine games and required to pay over $5700 to a charity of his choice due to his acceptance of that amount of improper benefits while in high school.  Under NCAA rules, Selby was no longer an amateur.  But the NCAA looked at the case and somehow determined that this violation could be redeemed if the money was simply paid back.  How is the excess $5700 in expenses different than Kanter's $33,000?  Is it just that the total is too large?  Maybe so, but there is nothing in the NCAA rule book that says the amount makes a difference.  Is the difference that the money was paid by a European club rather than a hustling street agent?  Maybe so, but there is nothing in the NCAA rulebook that says where the illegal money comes from should make a difference.  The difference is manufactured, but never explained by the NCAA.

Take Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.  His father admittedly asked for $180,000 in improper benefits from Mississippi State, but the NCAA allowed Newton to play because it deemed that it could not be proven that his son knew about the money.  Ok fair enough.  In a vacuum that makes sense.  But Kanter also claims to not have known about the money taken by his father in excess of the "actual and necessary" expenses.  The NCAA claims that the fact money was taken is different than if money was simply asked for by the parent. However that difference is not based on any rule in the NCAA Rule book and the logic behind both cases (the son should not be punished for the sins of the father) applies to both equally.  So why is Newton, who one has to strain the laws of credibility to believe didn't know his father was on the take, playing and Kanter, who likely didn't do the expense budget and probably didn't know the amount his father took, ineligible?  Its hard to comprehend.

Or take the Ohio State five.  All five broke NCAA rules when they sold or exchanged NCAA memorabilia that was given to them for various team accomplishments.  All broke the rules and violated the amateurism standard.  But, the NCAA allowed them to miss only five games and even went further by delaying the punishment because the group was supposedly unaware of the rule they were breaking.  I am certain that 16 year-old Enes Kanter in Turkey had no clue what the NCAA rules were when he took the money from Fenerbache, so why doesn't the "I didnt know" apply to him?  Is it because he has no BCS Sugar Bowl upcoming?

The simplistic way to look at the Kanter situation is also the easiest.  He played for a professional team, so he was a "pro", end of story. But, when one looks beyond the surface level, those simplistic distinctions breakdown and are shown to be based on nothing in the NCAA rule book or from any logical consistency.  Josh Selby, Cam Newton, the Ohio State Five and Enes Kanter all broke NCAA rules.  All of them should have been ruled ineligible based upon a strict reading of the NCAA rules.  But in three of the cases, the NCAA decided that the rules needed bending and rendered punishments that allowed for "flexibility."  In the Kanter case, the rules were read strictly.  What explains the difference?  Well nothing in the NCAA rule book or any logical framework does, so all we are left with is one conclusion.  The only thing certain about the NCAA's decision making process is that it will be consistently inconsistent


Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:01 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Jayhawk, why bring up Selby instead of Wall?  Try $787.00 compared to $5700.00, you inbred idiot.  Now that the morons have had their say, here is what will happen, and about time: The Kanter family will sue the hell out of the most corrupt organization around, the NCAA.  They will make them defend every single decision they ever made, their hugely inconsistent rulings, their obvious favoritism, what possible differences there are, at the core of it all, between Newton, Ohio State, Selby, etc.....even if they don't win, they make this piece of $hit association explain theirselves.

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:49 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

everyone reading this does understand who matt jones is right? this is a guy who hosts a 2 hour talk show on the radio each day. the show consists of NOTHING but bragging and chest pounding and crowing and blowing about uk sports. he is nothing but a homer with no interests in anything but extolling the downright wholesome virtues of all things big blue. they constantly harange everything from the NCAA to Christian Laetner and anything in between. would he indeed have written this melodramatic, tearjerking piece if this was a 6-foot gaurd  trying to become eligable at say Montana u? indeed i say not.  seems to me like cal is gonna keep pushing the envelope until it falls.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:46 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

i believe that if anyone should be found ineligble it should be johnny calipari for knowing he was breaking the rules again and again by recruiting that kid in the first place.....

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:45 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Great job LAW DOG,The NCAA is A JOKE!!PICK AND FAVOR WHO YOU WANT IN THE CLUB!Matt you named them all in the last couple months but you forgot about another member of the CLUB..Mississippi State player who is still raising HELL IN NCAA by the name of  ,DIDN'T HE HAVE TO(ORDER) PAY BACK THE NCAA a large sum of $11,800 of what the NCAA called improper benefits and sat out the first nine games of this season AND ALL OF LAST SEASON,Now fights AND HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON,3 GAMES!!YOU TELL ME????

Since: Apr 14, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:42 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Hey Matt.

Why bring up Selby?  Why not bring up John Wall?  Same excessive benefits and someone who played at Kentucky who only had to sit out a few games and pay money back.  I can't think of one reason why you didn't do that.  Not one.  I'm really struggling with that.

The Kanter's weren't obligated to use that money for education.  They were handed $33,000.  What is the average annual income in Turkey by the way?

There is a reason prep schools wouldn't take him.  But Cal will because he doesn't care about Kentucky.  He cares about himself.  That is why he is showing up in the green room when Kanter is drafted.  For the photo op.  Will that be the greatest night in Kentucky basketball history?  A none and done.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:40 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association


Kanter played on a pro team and got paid more than his expenses. A lot more. $33k is 3 times the per capita income of the average Turk. Not an amateur anymore.

How much money did Mississippi State end up giving Newton? None.  Did Newton attend Mississippi State? No.  Any proof that Auburn paid Newton any money? No. IF NEWTON OR HIS FATHER HAD ACTUALLY RECEIVED A BRIBE, HE WOULD BE INELIGIBLE!

Maybe the NCAA should have been tougher on Selby and the Ohio State Five but the Kanter decision is the correct one.






The NBA needs to allow high school players to join the NBDL.

How about this? Each NBDL team is allowed to choose up to 2 high school players. The players would sign a 3 year/$750k contract. At the end of 3 years, they would be put into the NBA draft pool. If undrafted, they could stay in the NBDL, or they could go somewhere else.

The NBDL would become much more interesting and make more money. The risk of an NBA team drafting an 18 year old flop would go away. The integrity of the college game would be more protected. When you get a kid, he stays 3 or 4 years. The young men would be protected, developed. and make a nice income while getting ready for the NBA.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:32 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Matt, I have a question that I haven't seen anyone comment on or write about.  In the NCAA press release, it states:  "Actual and necessary expenses are defined by NCAA rules and generally relate to a player’s expenses directly necessary for practice and competition on a team. Some examples include meals and lodging directly tied to practice or competition, coaching , medical insurance and transportation tied to practice or competition." (emphasis added by me) 

If I am reading that properly, based on the NCAA's regulations, if Kanter's parents had spent that $33,000 on extra coaching (strength coach, shooting coach, etc) for their 16 year old son, he would be eligible.  Instead, they spent the money on tutoring, schooling and education, so he is not eligible.  How is that consistent with the stated goal of promoting the "student-athlete?"  Am I interpreting the press release correctly?

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:24 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Well said

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:23 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Where ever Coach Cal goes, The NCAA will be there like a pitbull on a mailman and enforce any rule as hard as they can. But that's what happens when you play on the edge and have a chip on your shoulder. The NCAA will find something at sometime to punish UK and take many victories away from them. So sad. Kanter or not, UK is back and I'm glad to see that. It's good for BBall.

Since: Feb 18, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:17 pm

NCAA: The No Consistency Athletic Association

Being a Kentucky fan I almost feel like this is a dream, like it isn't really happening. My brain cant simply fathom how the NCAA managed to find this kid in the wrong. The NCAA is showing obvious favoratism to particular athletes. 

What is frustrating is that Enes' father didn't know they were doing anything wrong. The Turkish team gave him money to pay for Enes' schooling, and he took it.  Why would the NCAA, which is "all about the education of the athletes", not allow benefits to allow paying for school and tutors? Enes' father couldn't possibly think he was wrong in taking the money. And of course, like any other 16 yr old, Enes wasn't involved in the families finances. He was just a kid playing basketball.

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