Moss, a four-year walk-on basketball player, joined the UK football team March 29 and went through two practices before deciding not to play football. However, not long after that, he had a change of heart, left the barnstorming tour, gave back the money he had received, and finished spring practice with the team.
"In the media and everywhere else, there was obvious talk about the football team's need at wide receiver," said Austin Moss, Ravi's father. "He really wanted to help the team out. He made a quick decision to play, and then a quicker decision not to play. Being the good-natured person, he is, he decided to come back and play football. Unfortunately, the NCAA feels he violated his eligibility and has slapped him with a six-game suspension."
The NCAA ruled that receiving money for the barnstorming game and autograph sessions is a breach of the NCAA regulation that does not allow student-athletes with remaining eligibility to market their athletic reputations.
Austin Moss said UK compliance director Sandy Bell told him the NCAA originally was going to ban him from playing the whole season before reducing the punishment to six games — or half the season. The NCAA made basketball player Randolph Morris sit out half of last season because of his association with an agent and taking expense money that he eventually repaid to try out with several NBA teams.
"It's just mind boggling how they arrived at six games," Austin Moss said. "Ravi was never a scholarship player. He never received one cent from the athletic department, yet he gets penalized like this for playing in one barnstorming game. In my mind, the punishment far outweighs the offense."
Say amen Big Blue fans. Austin Moss is preaching to the choir here because the NCAA once again has showed it has no compassion or common sense when it deals with student-athletes. Don't think for a minute that UK officials didn't check with the NCAA before Moss rejoined the football team. No one at UK could have expected this punishment.
"He's a SEC academic honor roll student, and this is the kind of reward he gets from the NCAA for staying out of trouble and making good grades," Austin Moss said. "This behavior by the NCAA suggests that the NCAA does not even care about student-athletes. There's no rational thinking here. We are very disappointed. Maybe I shouldn't even say anything, but this just doesn't make sense to me."
Austin Moss' youngest son is also a walk-on player on the football team. The 2006 football season was going to be the first time the two played on the same team together. Now Austin Moss, his wife and UK fans are going to have to wait until Kentucky's seventh game to see the brothers both in uniform.
"We will continue to do things like we always have and we will persevere," Austin Moss said. "Ravi will find a way to contribute to the football program at wide receiver. He's no quitter. He's going to honor his commitment to football. That's the kind of person and young man he is. If he says he'll do something, he does it. He keeps his word."
Too bad the NCAA doesn't have the same integrity because this harsh punishment just makes no sense.