December 24, 2010

NCAA won't rule on Enes Kanter in 2010

Kentucky won't get an answer on Turkish freshman Enes Kanter's final chance at eligibility until sometime after the new year, according to an NCAA spokesperson.

Chuck Wynne, the NCAA's director of communication strategy, said in an e-mail that any ruling on Kanter was not imminent. Kanter remains at Kentucky.

"Reports on any decision before the first of the year are wrong," Wynne wrote. "It won't happen.

Kentucky's staff has said for weeks that it was hoping for a quick resolution on the matter after it resubmitted Kanter's eligibility request once Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was ruled eligible by the NCAA.

The NCAA had ruled that Newton's father, Cecil, was shopping him to play at Mississippi State but that neither Cam nor Auburn knew about any such deal. Newton was ruled ineligible for a day and then was reinstated without penalty by the NCAA in time to play in the SEC championship game Dec. 4.

Kanter played three seasons with the Turkish club Fenerbahce from 2006 to 2009. He was on the senior club team in 2008-09. The NCAA said in a release Nov. 11 that the university and the NCAA Eligibility Center agreed on the facts that Kanter received $33,033 more than his allowable expenses for the 2008-09 season.

The new NCAA bylaw does allow possible players to play on teams with professionals. But players aren't allowed to exceed the actual and necessary expenses. Previously, players weren't allowed to be on a team with a professional without a game penalty.

"Enes took advantage of an opportunity to play at the highest level available to him, but the consequences of receiving payments above his actual expenses is not compatible with the collegiate model of sports that our members have developed," Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in the Nov. 11 release.

Kanter, who is billed as a top-five pick by most NBA personnel, has maintained that he never intended to turn professional. Kanter's father, Dr. Mehmet Kanter, told the Sporting News that if his son were to receive a one-year suspension he would return to Kentucky instead of declare for the NBA draft.

"Enes would do anything to play and help UK, his teammates and fans," Mehmet Kanter wrote to the Sporting News. "In the last two years, one thing me and Enes never discussed was him being pro. He didn't mention to me about NBA or draft and I guarantee you as a father -- if that's the NCAA's decision -- Enes will be a sophomore next year in UK."

"I know he decided to come to USA to be free in making his own decisions regarding his future, which was seeking an education and playing basketball," Mehmet Kanter said. "So he still is having hard time understanding most of the things happening the last six months. But I think support from UK staff and fans and his teammates is making it easier on him."

Instead of appealing the initial ruling Kentucky decided to resubmit the request for eligibility after Newton's decision.

"The NCAA and the University of Kentucky are still working towards resolution on this matter based upon previously agreed facts,'' Wynne wrote. "While the NCAA would always encourage more education for any prospective student-athlete, Mr. Kanter's comments will not be a factor in the decision-making progress.''

Andy Katz

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