Friday, September 3, 2010

NCAA Joins Houston Nutt in His Efforts Toward "People-Helping"

Houston Nutt on Tuesday:
"We're in the people-helping business. I want to plead with that subcommittee. He's done nothing but what he's supposed to do."
Do we extend a 'Bravo!' to the NCAA for this decision? I'm not sure that would feel right.

Of course, as you've heard, Jeremiah Masoli is now eligible to play immediately for the Ole Miss Rebels. I am curious about a few items, including: 1) How they ever got to this decision in the first place, and 2) what would the reaction have been should Ole Miss' first game was against Clemson, North Carolina, or Virginia Tech?

According to my simple mind, the NCAA got to this point because they didn't like their own rule. As I detailed earlier in the week, if you don't like it - get rid of it. But it really shouldn't have gotten to this point.

You can argue that Jeremiah Masoli never deserved this opportunity in the first place, and I can admire you as you stand upon your moral soapbox. Unfortunately, if you argue that, you're likely not an Ole Miss fan. And even more unfortunate, if this had been YOUR football team, you'd been raising hell and screaming that he had done everthing according to the rules. So, don't give me that 'it's a privilige to play' crap. It's not a privilige to Jeremiah. It's a way for him to get to the NFL and make a lot of money. (Don't forget he was to be a Heisman candidate, if not for his troubles at Oregon. And who knows... he could still end up being one.)

The NCAA was trying to make that argument earlier this week when they declared him ineligible. And guess what? They were WRONG. That's a big reason why the appeal HAD to be successful - because even the NCAA has allowed this stuff to go on before. Greg Paulus, Kenneth Cooper - there was never an "academic motivation" to any of it. And the NCAA knows this.

Still curious to me is that how different the reaction would have been from Ole Miss fans had the first game's opponent been more of a challenge. While Ole Miss has been playing Memphis in Week 1 back to 2004, other SEC schools in recent years have opened up with Clemson, Virginia Tech, USC, and others.

While it won't make a difference in Ole Miss' situation this year, the NCAA again stole repetitions from a player and a team that, in Houston Nutt's mind, is competing for an SEC or national title. What if this had been done to Alabama? Or Texas? Or Florida?

Before the NCAA determines when it is appropriate to enact their moral compass, it might be a good idea to acknowledge what the rules are - before they really screw up a football season.