There won't any shirts, slogans, viral campaigns or widespread laments, but UC Irvine got its own dose of Enes Kanter-ism yesterday. The NCAA upheld its decision that French center Maxime Chupin is permanently ineligible due to receiving money beyond his NCAA-designated needed means while playing professinally in France.
For similar reasons, the University of Kentucky wasn't allowed to play Turkish big man Kanter this past season. Kanter's case was arguably the biggest headline at the beginning of last season. After an initial ruling, the Anteaters (a top-five nickname in college athletics, of course) appealed. The wait last well after the end of the season, as you can see. Chupin waited and waited ... and waited ... for a decision to be rendered.
He sat the entire year, just twiddling his thumbs while the NCAA, perhaps sifting through paperwork, perhaps unintentionally neglecting the young man, took its time. The permanently-ineligible verdict on Kanter was a bad sign, and sure enough, Tuesday afternoon, Chupin and UC Irvine got the bad news, once and for all.
ESPN.com's Diamond Leung dug into the details of the story yesterday.
Turner said Chupin received about $1,300 per month from the Cholet Basketball Club as money intended to cover expenses, but the NCAA deemed he accepted an impermissible amount. Chupin was able to practice with the team after the NCAA's initial ruling that he was ineligible, but now his future at the school is uncertain as it is Turner's understanding that the ineligibility is permanent.Seems the NCAA has no plans to reconsider the way it builds its charts for these matters, charts which are clearly only using the colors black and white. Players, scenarios and situations are different all the time. The NCAA has bent rules for the sake of interpretation and human decency before, but that usually has to do with life-and-death matters. In terms of eligibility and foreign players, there may be no higher, tinier hoops to scoot through than these.
It seems if you want to play professional basketball overseas before coming to the United States to play at an amateur level, you best be making pennies and living without any comfort or luxury.
Talent level doesn't matter. Economic status does. The NCAA simply doesn't want players profiting of their abilities elsewhere before donning university threads. When it's in such a gray area, like with Kanter and Chupin, I don't see why that's relevant.
UC Irvine finished 13-19 last season.
Photo via UC Irvine Athletics