Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NCAA Says Masoli Not Eligible, Has Short Memory

The NCAA declared Tuesday that when it comes to eligibility, Jeremiah Masoli was a no-go for Ole Miss. For those of you keeping score at home, it was because the NCAA did not believe that Masoli's transfer from Oregon to Mississippi was "academically motivated".

That smells an awful like a bowl-full of BS to me.

In fact, wasn't it only a year ago that the great Greg Paulus used the graduate school transfer waiver? Let's hop in to Doc Brown's DeLorean and all the way back to April of last year...

An NCAA Press Release, April 16, 2009:

Mr. Paulus has expressed an interest in competing in a second sport at another Division I school after earning an undergraduate degree at Duke University and competing on the men’s basketball team. The NCAA encourages and applauds academic achievement and realizes this is an unique situation and opportunity for Mr. Paulus. Student-athletes seldom have the opportunity to transfer late in their college careers and compete in a second sport after four seasons of competition. The NCAA established a "students first” waiver process to address unique situations and extenuating circumstances such as this that are not outlined in our rules.

If a student-athlete wants to transfer and immediately compete as a graduate student, the college or university they are transferring to would need to seek a waiver, because in most cases they would have to sit out a year before competing under NCAA transfer rules and would not have any remaining eligibility. One of the factors our members have determined is appropriate for a graduate student waiver is if the transfer is academically motivated.

Look back at that first paragraph. I don't seem to notice the NCAA applauding Mr. Paulus' honorable pursuit of continued education, do you?

This press release came out after Greg Paulus was already visiting campuses to gauge his opportunities to play immediately. (Perhaps Paulus could have kept Rich Rod off the hot seat.) Greg was also doing multiple radio interviews that summer discussing his options and his decision to go to Syracuse. Not much discussion regarding academics.

Greg, of course, was cleared to play.

The NCAA is throwing up some bluster in regards to Masoli's standing with his former team. Because he was suspended and wasn't eligible to play for his current team anyway, he shouldn't be eligible. Okay, if you want to play it that way, what about this...

Kenneth Cooper. Kid was kicked off the basketball team at Louisiana Tech. Applies for a graduate student transfer to UAB so he can continue to play basketball. (This all was last year, too, by the way.)

Wait a second... isn't that the exact same situation that Jeremiah Masoli was in this year? Suspended from current team, graduated from college, with one more year of eligibility? Surely the NCAA denied him, right?

Negative, Ghost Rider. He was cleared, and Kenneth average 5.8ppg and 3.8 reb for Mike Davis last year.

Houston Nutt, for the cartoon that he is, must be going Yosemite Sam on this one. The only precedence I can find for this siutation would dictate that Masoli would be granted the waiver.

For the NCAA to cite a suspected lack of "academic motivation" as a reason to deny Masoli's waiver is, in my opinion, an atrocious lack of consistency in the NCAA's decision making.

If "academic motivation" is a factor in granting a graduate student waiver, why was Paulus given the thumbs up? And even more so, Kenneth Cooper?

If you're an Ole Miss fan, you've got a right to be furious. The NCAA knew that Masoli was going to Ole Miss since early August. To lay this decision down on the Tuesday before the first week's game is unfair to Houston Nutt, the athletic department at Mississippi, and every player on that team. The NCAA allowed Ole Miss to waste practice reps all month long on a player that -according to the rules AND precedence - should have been eligible.

And the message to the NCAA, should they be interested in learning any lessons, would be that if you don't like student-athletes taking advantage of rules, then don't have them. That would keep everyone from wasting their time.