December 7, 2010
Why isn't Enes Kanter getting the same break Cam Newton did?
Newton got the OK to play for the Tigers this week in the SEC championship game.
Having typed out those words, it seems even more ridiculous in print.
Enes Kanter might be permanently ineligible because his family, thousands of miles and a culture or two removed from NCAA regulations, did not properly interpret what their son would be allowed to accept from a club while he practiced and competed. Kanter was only 16 years old when all this began, and yet he is being held strictly liable for how his family managed his eligibility. He is derided by many in the media as a “professional,” the word pronounced as though spelled with entirely scarlet letters.
Cam Newton will be permitted to play the remainder of his college football career, whether it’s two more games or through the 2011 season. His family had every reason to fully understand NCAA rules, because Newton already had gone through the recruiting process once and played two seasons at the University of Florida. And yet Cecil Newton has acknowledged attempting to arrange for a payment from Mississippi State in exchange for getting his son to sign there last winter. Cam Newton is being excused on the grounds he did not know about that pursuit.
One family purposefully does wrong, shredding the NCAA’s most obvious rule, and the son prospers and excels.
One family mistakenly stumbles outside the more ambiguous pages of the NCAA’s rulebook, and the son sits with the weight of permanent ineligibility draped across his shoulders.
If the NCAA wants its operation to be perceived as serious, and certainly it does given the billions at stake, there can be no option other than to order Kanter’s family to repay the amount in question and restoring his eligibility immediately, counting the six games missed as time served.
The Kanters would gladly write that check. Unlike some, they are not looking to be enriched by their son’s time as an NCAA athlete.