Blog Entry

The French (Kanter) connection

Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:45 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander

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.'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
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NCAA

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: April 21, 2011 5:08 pm

The French (Kanter) connection

Chupin had no chance after Kanter was declared ineligible. It would have made the NCAA look bad to show some compassion to a player who was under a complete different systen than in the U.S.

 Players in the  U.S. can get thousands of dollars in room and board plus a scholarhip to play at prep schools and/or money from AAU ball but a player in Europe where the system in vastly different has no chance unless he is not a top player there.

Since: Sep 26, 2007
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:57 pm

The French (Kanter) connection

Kanter did not practice or travel with UK's team after the ruling. Kanter was granted the position of "undergraduate student-assistant coach" which allowed him limited coaching duties with the team. This is allowable under NCAA rules. You should get your facts straight before commenting.

As for the black and white issue -- What Matt is essentially saying is that the NCAA is not transparent with these rulings. Because of a recent rule change within the last year or so, we know that they allow a European player a certain amount of expenses when they play for a club team. What the NCAA needs to do is outline the parameters of what is and is not an acceptable amount of expenses. Kanter wasn't a pro. The NCAA said he received $30,000 more than what is allowable while playing a handfull of games for Febernahce in Turkey as a 15 year old. Kanter was offered millions by the same club team and a million to play for the Turkish National team and turned both down in order to come to the states to play college ball. 

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:53 pm

The French (Kanter) connection

Here's a simple fact.... AAU kids get more than $1500/mo in benefits (between travel, equipment, expenses, etc)... let alone "full ride private school" students.

Until you understand the European League system, you shouldn't attempt to compare the systems.  By your defnition ALL European club players would be professionals.  The club team circuit in Europe (which is similar to our AAU circuit) is owned by the professional teams.  Almost like a minor league. 
So I ask you this... how would an elite athelte in Europe make his way to an American university if that's the route he chose?   Because part of your comment above sounds like foreign players shouldn't be allowed in our American game.... which is rediculous.
I suppose you'd rather Josh Selby hang out with an Pro Agent over the summer, drive his $80,000 Mercedes onto Kansas campus... receive a slap on the wrist and still be called an amateur. 
The NCAA wouldn't know black from white.. much less be able to draw a line between the two.

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:48 pm

The French (Kanter) connection

Kanter was cleared by the NCAA to practice with the team every step of the way.  Players are allowed to practice with their teams during the appeals process.  After the appeal was denied, Kanter was assigned a student-coaching job, which allowed him a limited amount of practice time with the team.  All of this is standard NCAA practice, and all of this was cleared with the NCAA.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:24 pm

Playing for Pay

Here is the simple fact: players who play for pay do not belong in NCAA basketball. There is no deprivation here. There are plenty of good universities in France. The reason a player whats to come to the USA to play for a university is most likely to showcase for the NBA. But the NBA scouts French leagues. The players in Europe often start playing professional basketball as mid-teenagers. They are advantaged by playing against other professionals. They are not student-athletes by the NCAA definition. There should be no sympathy for a professional player who waits for the NCAA to rule them an amateur.

In the case of Enes Kanter after being ruled ineligible he apparently continued to practice with the team contrary to the ruling. Here he Anteaters had the benefit of practicing against a professional all season. This cannot hurt the team. It probably does not hurt the player either as he receives a scholarship for practicing the game he has chosen. It seems evident that the coaches knew (or should have known) that the NCAA would rule this way. Are they taking advantage of the rules to get a practice player?

Matt, you say this is a gray area. It seems the NCAA is saying it is a black and white area - pay for play = professional. Simple to understand. Simple to enforce. Getting housing and meals furnished may be white. Getting paid is black.

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