Syracuse basketball signee Moustapha Diagne is not enrolling because he was declared ineligible, but rather due to the NCAA's lack of timeliness in regards to one of his courses he took in Senegal three years ago, Pope John head coach Jason Hasson told the New Jersey Herald.
From the New Jersey Herald:
According to Pope John boys basketball coach Jason Hasson, Diagne has not been ruled ineligible by the NCAA; his eligibility is still pending. The NCAA is in the process of determining Diagne’s eligibility because of an issue with one of his courses that transferred from Senegal, his home country, when he came to the United States in 2012.
The NCAA, however, had not ruled fully on the case by Thursday night, by which time Diagne needed to have a college in which to enroll. Diagne, who has been back in Senegal visiting his family this summer, had been in the U.S. on a student visa, so he had to have time to enroll at an American school somewhere, in order to return.
Hasson specified that the issue with Diagne had nothing to do with his time in high school.
"“It had nothing to do with his Pope John transcript; he did very well at Pope John, he was a very good student,” Hasson told the Herald. “It was just a question about a class he took over there (in Senegal). One single class.”
He also declined to say which junior college Diagne will be attending for the time being. Hasson also added that if the NCAA does end up accepting the class in question, Diagne could enroll in a division one institution, presumably Syracuse, for the 2016-17 season. That of course, would be good news for Orange fans.
“Yes, absolutely,” Hasson told the Herald. “And they’re still working hard to try to get him there. He might end up in a junior college for one full year, but he’s fully intending to circle back to an NCAA Division I school. ... More than likely, it’s not going to be this coming season, but it could be the following season, absolutely.”
The delay is nothing new for the NCAA, which seemingly takes its time in nearly every situation. They took nearly two months in looking at Syracuse football signee Marquise Blair's courses before ruling him ineligible. By the time they made a decision, junior college football programs were already in training camp, forcing Blair to scramble to find one. Ultimately he did, but it put him in a very difficult situation.
With Diagne, the NCAA could rule sometime in the next few weeks that they are accepting the course in question and that he is cleared through the clearing house. If that happens, it would be another example of NCAA failure. Forcing Diagne to go to a junior college before a decision is made on a course he took is unfair and not right. The NCAA has to do a better job at expediting these issues.
Yes the Blair and Diagne hurt the Syracuse football and basketball programs, as other such issues do to any school involved, but the real victims are the kids. The high school students that, in these cases, do everything right but are stuck behind a lagging, seemingly non-transparent and arbitrary process.
The NCAA, regarding the case against North Carolina with allegedly fake classes taken by athletes over nearly two decades, stated it is not in their jurisdiction to determine the legitimacy or difficulty of classes. That is for college courses anyway. Apparently, for high school courses, they feel the opposite.
The length of these reviews puts programs in a catch-22 situation. The Syracuse football program was counting on Marquise Blair contributing to the team this year. But a decision was not made until right before training camp began. Forcing them to change plans at the last possible minute.
The Syracuse basketball program looked into potential transfers or other 2015 prospects as they awaited news. But because of the lack of timeliness, Syracuse could not bring someone else in without a decision from the NCAA. One that still hasn't come.
The NCAA simply has to do better, and do so faster. It is unfair to the players and the schools in which they are trying to enroll.