January 9, 2011

Kanter to remain permanently ineligible

Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter's last-ditch appeal to get on the court has been denied by the NCAA.
Kanter, the talented big man from Turkey deemed ineligible by the NCAA earlier this season, had his appeal rejected on Friday by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and remains "permanently ineligible."
"We are disappointed in the result and equally disappointed in the process," Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement following the decision. "We have spent significant effort and resources to help this young man play college basketball in the United States. This has been on our radar screen daily for 10 months."
"We are obviously disappointed in this decision and find it unfortunate that a group of adults would come to such a decision regarding the future of an 18-year-old young man," said Kentucky coach John Calipari. "This has never been about our program or the University of Kentucky, it has been about the wishes of Enes and his family to have their son educated in the United States. It is a shame that Enes had to endure the constant speculation and misinformation that was furthered by certain media organizations in the smear campaign conducted by his Turkish team."

Added Banhart: "We were informed by the NCAA that the flexible decisions made by the NCAA staff in other high-profile cases could not be used in case precedent and were not binding on the NCAA going forward. The University of Kentucky was very hopeful that our student-athlete might receive the same type of consideration afforded to these other athletes but that did not happen. We were also reminded on a regular basis that the amateurism and professionalinsm piece, including benefits received from a professional team, is the one area of Bylaw 12 that has not been deregulated."
The reinstatement committee is the final appeal opportunity.
Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff earlier this season for receiving benefits above his actual and necessary expenses while playing in Turkey.
The 6-foot-10 Kanter played three years with Fenerbahce, and both Kentucky and the NCAA Eligibility Center agreed that he received $33,033 more than his expenses for the 2008-09 campaign.
The initial appeal in front of the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee was upheld, but Kentucky then filed a last-ditch appeal based on the Cam Newton case – in which the Auburn football star is allowed to play in the championship game because the NCAA ruled he was unaware of the pay-for-play scenario put forth by his father and there was also no money that exchanged hands.

Kanter is considered a sure-fire lottery pick, one of the elite big men in the country and potentially even the top overall pick in next June’s NBA draft – according to multiple NBA executives.
Kanter was allowed to practice with the team throughout the appeal process, but will no longer by able to do so. However, he is still able to receive financial aid to continue his education at Kentucky.

The 11th-ranked Wildcats are 12-2 and will begin SEC play Saturday at Georgia.
"The silver lining is that Enes will always be part of this team," Calipari said. "My job will be to prepare him for his entry into the NBA draft, which this decision by the Association will likely necessitate. Enes will always be a part of our family and I plan to be by his side in the green room whenever he is drafted."
Jeff Goodman

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