Kentucky fans jumped at every text message, constantly hit the F5 key on their PCs to refresh their favorite Wildcat messageboards in hopes of a tweet or post that would bring news that Enes Kanter had been freed by the NCAA.
On this day that Kentucky fans expected Kanter news came an odd twist. Finality was expected. As the day dwindled down to the last few work hours for the week came word that Kentucky is seeking to introduce new information in the pursuit of making Kanter's dream of playing college basketball a reality.
The joint NCAA/UK announcement states:
"The University of Kentucky has requested an opportunity to submit additional information regarding the eligibility of men's basketball student-athlete Enes Kanter. When a school receives new information that could impact a student-athlete's eligibility, it is a standard NCAA process to provide the university with an opportunity to resubmit the case for consideration. Because an NCAA appellate body, such as the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, cannot hear new information on appeal, this reconsideration must first be made by the NCAA reinstatement staff. The university would then have an opportunity to appeal the staff decision to the committee. This opportunity is available to ensure a fair and thorough consideration of eligibility matters for the student-athlete. The NCAA and University of Kentucky will not have any further comment regarding the specifics of this case until the process has concluded."
What does this mean?
First it means that the case will be shipped back to the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff in Indianapolis. The staff will be required to make a ruling based upon the new information that Kentucky submits.
Once the staff rules based upon the new information one of two things is likely to happen. Should Kanter be ruled eligible, and Kentucky does not desire to have any penalties assessed reduced, the saga comes to an end.
Should the Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff rule against Kanter, or issue a penalty unacceptable to Kanter and Kentucky then the school can then appeal to the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Appeals Committee.
The step backward is due to the NCAA's protocol that dictates that the appeals committee not be presented with new evidence.
In seeking to determine a time-line I made an inquiry to Kentucky Sports Information Director DeWayne Peevy. The inquiry was made to determine if Kentucky has already submitted the additional information, or if the information had yet to be submitted to the NCAA. Peevy declined to answer the query, as he has been instructed to limit comments to the joint statement issued by Kentucky and the NCAA.
Recent rulings by the Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff can only strengthen any case made by Kentucky.
Kansas freshman Josh Selby has been ruled eligible to play after knowingly accepting improper benefits, Selby will have to sit out games and repay money determined to have been improper benefits. Among the violations Selby was investigated for was the use of a luxury automobile.
Earlier this week Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was reinstated after Auburn declared him ineligible when it determined that Newton's father shopped Newton's services to Mississippi State. The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff reinstated the star quarterback when no evidence was found that Newton had knowledge that his father was trying to sell his services.
By all accounts Kanter relied upon his parents to oversee his career in order to maintain his amateurism. The parents in turn relied upon an adviser to aid them in staying on the NCAA straight and narrow amateurism course. The funds in question were never in the possession or control of Enes Kanter. His parents thought they were abiding by NCAA rules when they accepted funds to pay for their son's educational expenses. By all accounts the Kanter's kept extensive records of the funds spent on their son's educational expenses.
The message the NCAA would send by ruling Kanter ineligible will ring loudly throughout college athletics. A ruling against Kanter would declare loudly that it is not OK to try to do the right thing and make an honest mistake in the interpretation of NCAA rules; but it is OK to accept the use of expensive rides and for parents to shop the services of their children for six digit figures.
The funds used by the Kanter's went for education, there was no intent by the Kanter's to violate NCAA rules. You can't really say that about the other high profile cases ruled on since Enes was declared permanently ineligible.
Kanter saga continues
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