A lot of days, I don’t understand the NCAA.
Look, I understand its purpose. It’s a governing body for our student athletes across roughly a thousand institutions and their respective conferences. They support multiple sports for our student athletes across the board – from football, to field hockey, to underwater basket weaving and bowling.
I don’t understand the inconsistencies of player eligibility. How can it be that Ohio State transfer Micah Potter (Wisconsin) or Marquette transfers Sam Hauser (Virginia) & Joey Hauser (Michigan State) have to sit for an extended period of time whereas others can be immediately eligible? Some clarifications and understanding for the general public would make more sense rather than media outlets just stating whether or not a player is eligible following a transfer.
According to the NCAA transfer terms, if player XYZ is playing at a Division 1 school, say let’s use the University of Minnesota in this situation, you have five-calendar years in which to play four seasons of competition in any sport. Your five-year clock starts when you enroll as a full-time student at any college (Guess I can no longer be a student athlete…) If you decide to transfer to another Division 1 program, say, Iowa State as school B, your clock will continue, even if that player spends an academic year in a residence as a result of transferring; or if you decide to red shirt, or if you don’t attend school or go part-time during your college career by taking fewer than 12 credits typically. So, we may not know the exact details of why those players aren’t eligible, but apparently the NCAA knows more than we do.
A full list of those transfer terms are listed here:
Another story based out of the University of Memphis includes top recruit and freshman James Wiseman. It has been decided by the NCAA that he will be suspended a grand total of 12 games and be fined $11,500 in which that money will be donated to a charity of his given choice. The suspension stems from Wiseman’s mother, who accepted the fine amount from head coach Penny Hardaway during the summer of 2017. According to investigations, the University of Memphis claimed Wiseman had no recollection of the payment, as the family used the payment when Wiseman moved from Nashville to Memphis. At the time, Hardaway was coaching high school ball and ran his own grassroots program called the Team Penny program – which Wiseman would also play for following the move. Hardaway, who is a Memphis Tiger alum, was considered by the NCAA to be a “booster” due to his donation that he gave the university to build a sports hall of fame. He’s now the head coach of the Memphis Tigers Basketball Program.
Initially, the NCAA ruled Wiseman ineligible – but a Shelby County judge issued a restraining order allowing Wiseman the opportunity to play. After three games, Memphis declared the freshman ineligible and held him from additional athletic competition. Wiseman also withdrew his lawsuit against the NCAA for being ruled ineligible. Wiseman is eligible to play once again on January 12th against the South Florida Bulls.
According to the NCAA’s payment guidelines, they state that “payment may be spread throughout the duration of a student-athlete’s eligibility, but must be completed prior to the student-athlete’s last regular season date of competition or contest.”
My two cents: WHERE THE HELL DOES A COLLEGE FRESHMAN HAVE $11.5K LAYING AROUND?!?!?
Last year, the NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenue – in which they profited the most from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (March Madness) – with marketing rights and championship ticket sales. That money helps go into TV deals with CBS & Turner (TBS, TruTV, TNT) for broadcasting purposes during the tournament, as well as TV deals with broadcasting families like FOX, The Walt Disney Company (ABC, ESPN – with 80% majority from Walt Disney) as well as scholarships, educational programs, and other services.
There’s another important and touchy subject right now regarding student athletes and their own ability to profit off of their own name in college athletics. The state of California became the first state in the union to pass a law allowing college athletes to get paid for any endorsement deals and allowing them to hire sports agents. The law is scheduled to take effect in 2023.
If college athletes can profit off of their own name, how much would they be worth? Take Tua Tagovailoa for example, which was playing QB for the University of Alabama. He’s helped lead his team to the National Championship twice – winning an improbable game against Georgia in overtime and taking it on the chin to Clemson last season. With Tua’s latest injury, it’s expected that he’ll probably face a hefty bill of medical expenses and rehab ahead to prepare him for the next level. Had this rule or law been in effect across our country, he more than likely would’ve had that taken care of. When the university builds a stadium on their campus for their football team, those athletes are bringing fans into the seats and helping their campus make money. A scholarship in a sense can only go so far – there are bills like living expenses, rent, and other arrangements where most if not all athletes have issues getting by. And while being an athlete at any institution, those athletes need to take their participation on those teams like full time jobs.
I guess there is murky water when it comes to that topic – and all of these topics for that matter – but if an athlete is signing his or her life up for putting their bodies on the line to make the university a buck, maybe they need to see that reimbursement too.
The confusion of what the NCAA regulates and understanding point of view of our athletes will continue to be a big question.