January 11, 2011

Calipari addresses Kanter decision

The eight-month saga surrounding Enes Kanter's collegiate eligibility was due, in part, to the University of Kentucky being told to move forward with the appeals process, the school said on Monday.

UK coach John Calipari and spokesperson DeWayne Peevy told reporters during a previously scheduled media opportunity that the school and the Kanter family were told to pursue Kanter's eligibility through the organization's appeals process after he was ruled permanently ineligible on Nov. 11.

"We were told to appeal," Calipari said. "If this was black and white you just say, 'Look, this kid is never going to play so do whatever you want but here's why.' Why would we do anything? You want to put a young man through that, just say it. If it was your son why would put him through that for eight months?

Peevy confirmed Calipari's assertion the school was told to appeal the original decision.

"We were told it would not be a waste of our time," Peevy said.

Ultimately, Kanter's attempt to be ruled eligible was rejected four times by the NCAA and the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, an independent committee made up of representatives from NCAA-member colleges. The school, Kanter family and NCAA all agreed before the original ruling the player received $33,033 more than his actual and necessary expenses while playing with the Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Calipari said Monday the school was told the amount of money was inconsequential, as was the fact Kanter did not have a contract with Fenerbahce.

"We were told it didn't matter if it was $500 more (than expenses) that he would not be able to play," Calipari said. "That's what they're saying. It's not the money. It's not the amount of money, it's that, 'you got money over (expenses) so you're out.' Dad says it was for (necessary) expenses and they say it was pay. He used it for expenses and it's all documented but it doesn't matter, if you got money over expenses - $400, $600 - it doesn't matter, you're out. That's where we all live now.

"The other cases they decided all had contracts but this kid did not have a contract so (the NCAA) just set a precedent. That club comes back and says they gave (a kid) $400 pocket money then he is ineligible for his life. It doesn't matter how much money. That's what was just done with this decision. They're never going to play college athletics. The clubs over there are smart, they'll just put a little money in the pocket. They think this is the greatest thing ever."

NCAA president Mark Emmert's expressed surprise in a Sunday interview with CNNSI.com's Seth Davis that anyone would have felt like Kanter would ultimately be ruled eligible.

"The facts are utterly unambiguous, the rule is utterly unambiguous, and the intention of the membership is utterly unambiguous," Emmert said in that interview. "The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I'm amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible."

Calipari did not name Emmert specifically but took issue some of the NCAA's public comments since the conclusion of the case

"It's amazing in all the comments, you made your decision, why keep commenting?" Calipari said. "It's making (Kanter) bigger and bigger and bigger. They've made him bigger than life. He's huge here. He's huge in Turkey."

Peevy said the decisions to appeal the rulings were joint ventures. The school and Kanter family both agreed to challenge the initial ruling, but the university left the decision to make the final appeal up to the family.

"At that point it had gone on so long and it was already December so you don't want to feel like you didn't try everything, but if he had been ready to stop we would have," Peevy said. "At that point maybe a young kid is frustrated and just wants to walk away and not deal with it anymore.

"He was hoping it could end any day, just like we all were."

Calipari addresses Kanter decision
Matt May

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