The Enes Kanter saga is nearing an end.
Sometime this week Kanter and University of Kentucky officials are expected to participate via teleconference with the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee.
The committee hearing the appeal is comprised of representatives of the NCAA's membership, and not the NCAA staff who have been charged with handling the matter to this point.
The percentages are in Kanter's favor, as 99% of the student-athletes who go through the Student-Athlete Reinstatement process are ultimately cleared to play.
In 2003-2004 there were about 1100 reinstatement requests and about 300 appeals processed. Of those 99% of the student-athletes gained eligibility, though some included penalties.
The NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee will review the same information that the Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff has previously reviewed, but will look at the information from a different perspective. They will not look at facts alone, but will consider intent to violate rules and mitigating circumstances.
The NCAA's apparent reasoning for its initial denial of Kanter's eligibility is based upon his receiving educational expenses from The Turkish club team Fenerbahce Ulker during the 2008-2009 season. The NCAA rules require that expenses be paid directly to the payee providing the services.
The area where the NCAA's case against Kanter is more than murky is that their exception being used to determine that Kanter violated the rules that the expenses were more than "actual and necessary" includes a very broad category of "actual and necessary" expenses which states "Other reasonable expenses."
Kanter was allowed to play for a professional team, as is provided for by NCAA 22.214.171.124.1; which was enacted last spring and became effective on August 1, 2010.
If the exception exists that perspective student-athletes can play with professional teams logic would dictate that the rules governing professional teams paying for educational expenses should also be an exception for these players. The NCAA allows student-athletes to receive educational expenses from prep schools, junior colleges, private secondary schools and other institutions. Kids who played for professional teams under the exception 126.96.36.199.1 should be allowed to consider educational expenses as part of their reasonable expenses under the "Other reasonable expenses" clause of NCAA 12.02.04.
If the appeals committee does as charged and looks at the intent and responsibility of Kanter's involvement in any rules violation then it should weigh heavily in Kanter's favor. During the time in question Enes was a 16 year old playing basketball and getting an education. Were it the intent of Kanter to play professionally he could have played on the Turkish national team last summer and received more than $1 million for the experience. He could have sought out a professional contract upon turning 18. Kanter did neither of these things.
In addition to not grabbing millions as a pro the Kanters' actions indicate that their intent was to maintain the amateurism of Enes. They kept extensive expense records for funds received, and offered to repay the expenses determined by the NCAA to be above actual and necessary.
How culpable can one find a 16 year old and his parents in accepting educational expenses from Fenerbahce Ulker when they unknowingly committed violations, while painstakingly attempting to maintain the amateurism of Enes?
Furthermore, how reasonable is it for the NCAA to expect a student to honor the letter of NCAA rules that were not enacted until last spring? Unless the Kanter's had a crystal ball they would have expected Enes to sit out the four games he appeared in for Fenerbahce Ulker on a one-for-one basis which the previous rules dictated.
Once the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee hears the appeal a decision will come within ten days, but will likely come within a few days of the hearing.
Kanter appeal expected to be heard this week
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