December 4, 2010

UK says it has 'new information' on Enes Kanter's eligibilityn

Citing "new information," the University of Kentucky plans to try again to convince the NCAA to declare freshman Enes Kanter eligible.

Sometime this week, UK had been expected to appeal an earlier NCAA ruling that declared Kanter permanently ineligible because he played three seasons for a professional team in his native Turkey.

It was unclear whether that hearing took place. But according to NCAA rules, new information cannot be part of the appeals process.

UK issued a joint statement with the NCAA on Friday saying it had asked for permission to submit new information regarding Kanter's eligibility.

Procedures require Kentucky to introduce the new information before the NCAA reinstatement staff, which earlier declared Kanter permanently ineligible.

If the reinstatement staff again declares Kanter ineligible in a reconsideration of the case, Kentucky would then have the right to make the new information part of an appeal hearing. If the NCAA reinstatement staff declares Kanter eligible, there would be no appeals process necessary, and he could begin playing immediately.

In either scenario, a judgment could be expected within two weeks.
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said the NCAA did not permit the school to comment on the nature of the new information. Neither the NCAA nor UK would further comment on Kanter's case until a judgment is rendered, the statement said.

Coincidentally or not, Kentucky's statement about new information came two days after the NCAA raised eyebrows by declaring Auburn quarterback Cam Newton eligible.

The NCAA determined that Newton's father worked with an owner of a scouting service to sell the player's services. In declaring Newton eligible, Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, said on the organization's Web site, "We must consider the young person's responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement."

New NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement acknowledging the Newton case created a loophole in the rules that needed to be closed.

"We recognize that many people are outraged at the notion that a parent or anyone else could 'shop around' a student-athlete and there would possibly not be repercussions on the student-athlete's eligibility," he said in a statement on the NCAA Web site. "I'm committed to further clarifying and strengthening our recruiting and amateurism rules so they promote appropriate behavior by students, parents, coaches and third parties. We will work aggressively with our members to amend our bylaws so that this type of behavior is not a part of intercollegiate athletics,"

While that process unfolds, ESPN basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes suggested, Kentucky could argue that Kanter did not participate in any financial arrangements with a professional team in Turkey.

"I would say the Cam Newton situation, from a common-sense standpoint, would add fuel to Kentucky's 
case," Dykes said.

Dykes also suggested that Kanter might have turned down a lucrative professional contract to play in this country.

"There's a lot of stuff there in a lot of areas you could build a strong case for Enes Kanter," said Dykes, who also acknowledged that a case could be made that the NCAA was correct in declaring the player permanently ineligible.

The NCAA and UK agreed that Kanter received $33,033 in excess of the permitted "actual and necessary expenses" in his third and final season playing for Fenerbahce Ulker. The Turkish team provided the NCAA with housing and banking records to substantiate the compensation it paid Kanter or his family.

In terms of the impact Kanter can make on Kentucky's team, there is no dispute.
"He's a major difference maker," Dykes said. If the NCAA declares Kanter eligible, Kentucky is "right back to the Elite Eight and championship hunt."

Jerry Tipton

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