Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:48 am
Edited on: November 11, 2009 11:49 am
Those who enjoy shaking their heads at inexplicable inconsistencies in how the NCAA enforces punishments ought to look at Kyle Veazey's blog at The Clarion-Ledger today. He notes that Mississippi State has been informed there will be no change in the nine-game suspension of John Riek for amateurism issues despite Rick Stansbury holding the freshman out of an exhibition against Oklahoma City.
The NCAA told MSU the exhibition will not count as a game.
So Riek was basically held out for nothing.
And that would make sense if not for the fact that missing an exhibition is helping fulfill Kentucky freshman John Wall's two-game suspension for amateurism issues. In other words, the NCAA ruled that an exhibition can count toward Wall's suspension but not toward Riek's suspension, and if you think the governing body had a good explanation, man, you must be crazy.
Of course there wasn't a good explanation.
Because there is no good explanation, that's why.
Honestly, I don't care either way. The NCAA can count an exhibition as one game of a suspension or not count an exhibition as one game of a suspension; doesn't matter to me. All I wish is that the exhibitions would be treated the same everywhere. Nothing more, nothing less.
Posted on: May 5, 2009 3:04 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2009 3:05 pm
It seems Mississippi State could have one of the best frontcourts in the nation next season.
Or an NCAA investigation on campus.
Either way, the developments coming out of Starkville over the past week sure are interesting, and if Rick Stansbury gets everybody enrolled and cleared and on the court with healthy knees, the Bulldogs might be the favorite to win the SEC ... and a whole lot more. Make no mistake, the possibility of having Renardo Sidney, John Riek and (if he withdraws from the NBA Draft) Jarvis Varnado on the same team is enough to start whispers of a Final Four, but right now the whispers are about much different things -- specifically an article in Monday's Los Angeles Times that questioned whether Sidney has compromised his amateur status, and the lingering belief that Riek will never be healthy enough to contribute despite his potential once being that of a lottery pick.
The gist of the Sidney story is that he's been living in a home that nobody seems to think his family could afford if everything was pure. It's valued at $1.2 million, and the report claimed that the Sidney family has been renting it for between $4,000 and $5,000 a month. Assuming that's true -- and there's no reason to believe it isn't -- I can't imagine a scenario under which the Sidney family has any documented income that suggests they can afford to pay a rent like that, meaning there's a decent chance the NCAA will ask them to explain the home and several other arrangements, and that's probably not going to be a good day for the Sidney family.
Bottom line, I'll be surprised if Sidney ever plays at Mississippi State.
But I've been surprised before.
As for Riek, well, I haven't seen the guy in nearly two years, but when I did see him at the LeBron James Skills Academy during the summer of 2007 I walked away convinced he was a future lottery pick, perhaps a future No. 1 overall pick. The 7-foot-2 center from Sudan was clearly raw, but he was active to the point where he was dunking and blocking everything. Had you held the 2008 NBA Draft that day and put Riek in it, only a handful of guys would've been selected ahead of him. But knee problems have hampered Riek's development in the past 18 months, and so now he's more of a question mark than anything else.
Bottom line, I do think Riek will play at Mississippi State.
But I'm unsure how effective he'll be given that he's still not considered anywhere close to 100 percent.
All that said, the emotions at MSU are currently ranging from excited to skeptical to frustrated to scared because there are many ways this could go, and a big gap between what's good and bad. The best-case scenario has a cleared Sidney, a healthy Riek and a back-in-school Varnado dominating the SEC while the worst-case scenario has an ineligible Sidney, an unhealthy Riek and a done-with-school Varnado leaving fans to wonder what might've been.