December 29, 2010

Does NCAA release shed light on Kanter?

The NCAA is tired of your insinuations.

That's the message at the heart of this release, which the NCAA published Wednesday. After widespread criticism of the Cam Newton decision, as well as the decision to suspend Ohio State football players from five games next season but not from this year's bowl game, the NCAA apparently felt the need to respond to the haters. It's a bit defensive, a bit doth-protest-too-much (and it's "further", not "farther," NCAA PR folks) but you can understand the frustration.

In any case, there's at least one interested hoops-related nugget wedged in there, a bit of information that could have a large effect on the way Kentucky forward Enes Kanter's eligibility case is eventually decided in the coming weeks. From the release: 

While efforts are being championed by NCAA President Mark Emmert to further clarify and strengthen recruiting and amateurism rules when benefits or money are solicited (but not received), current NCAA rules would be violated and students declared ineligible should a parent or third party receive benefits or money, regardless of the student's knowledge.

Put simply, had Cam Newton's father or a third party actually received money or benefits for his recruitment, Cam Newton would have been declared ineligible regardless of his lack of knowledge.

Why does this matter for Kentucky and Enes Kanter? Because UK's current case for Kanter's eligibility is based on the idea that Kanter is just like Newton: His parents may have been organizing and/or receiving benefits for their son's talent, but the son didn't know about it, and that makes it OK. That's the "new information" Kentucky presented to the NCAA to land a second hearing and a second chance at getting its all-important Turkish big man eligible.

With the quoted portion above, the NCAA seems to have squashed that notion, albeit indirectly. Kentucky, the Kanters and the NCAA have all agreed to the basic fact that Kanter did receive about $30,000 for his time with a club team in Turkey. Whether he knew about that monetary exchange or not doesn't seem to matter. All that matters, apparently, is whether money was exchanged at all.

In other words, Kanter's eligibility case isn't looking good. We'll have to wait until the NCAA finishes its hearing and releases its decision, of course, but the Cam Newton Loophole, in so far as it exists, no longer seems to apply.

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