KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cam Newton meet Perry Jones III?
Baylor's second-leading scorer was declared ineligible Wednesday for sort of the same reason that Auburn's quarterback went free last year. The NCAA ruled that Jones' mother accepted three, 15-day loans from Jones' AAU coach while the player was still in high school. Baylor said Jones had no knowledge of the loans.
Sound familiar? Newton was allowed to keep playing in December after the NCAA ruled that the player had no knowledge of his father's solicitation of money from Mississippi State. Baylor said the loans were repaid in a "timely manner." If you want to make a comparison, the difference in this case is that money actually changed hands.
"This outcome appears to be inconsistent with other recent, widely discussed NCAA decisions," Baylor AD Ian McCaw said.
Baylor officials could barely conceal their disgust. After dealing with this situation since December, they were upset that the ruling came out on the same day of the opening of the Big 12 tournament. McCaw said the school found out about the ruling at about noon, approximately six hours before Wednesday's tip off with Oklahoma. The Bears, 18-13, then officially slid off the NCAA tournament bubble, losing to the Sooners, 84-67.
"I hope no one ever has to go through what we had to go through the last six hours," coach Scott Drew said.
"It's like somebody coming into your house and punching your little brother," teammate Quincy Acy said.
Baylor is appealing the case. Regardless, Jones' next stop is most likely the NIT or the NBA. If is not reinstated at Baylor, Jones already is considered a top-five NBA draft choice after one season in college. The 6-foot-11 freshman from Duncanville, Texas averaged 13.9 points and was the Bears' second-leading rebounder (7.2). He was Drew's highest-rated recruit having been rated a top-10 prospect by MaxPreps.
The NCAA is cracking down on third-party influence in both football and basketball recruiting. Baylor contends that Jones had a relationship with his AAU coach since at least the sixth grade. The AAU coach also paid for Jones to go an NFL preseason game in San Diego, according to the school.
Jones was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.