Before the Kansas State Wildcats and Syracuse Orange locked horns for their NCAA tournament game, Wildcats forward Jamar Samules was suspended for the game for a rules violation, a game in which the Wildcats lost
In an article by CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman, it was reported that Samuels was suspended by the school for accepting a $200 wire transfer from his old summer league coach Curtis Malone.
The reason for this wire transfer is so simple and meaningful that the school really should have at least asked about what it was for before they immediately suspended Samuels.
As Goodman states in his article:
"Curtis Malone told CBSSports.com that he was unaware of the rule that he wasn't able to give money to one of his former players. If I knew it and wanted to hide it, I would have done it differently," Malone told CBSSports.com. "The kid's family doesn't have anything and he called me for money to eat."
Really? Samuels got suspended because he didn't have enough money to eat so he called the closest person in his life he thought could help him out?
This is something that saddens and infuriates me.
If the NCAA (Kansas State suspended him because of feared repercussions from the NCAA) is so worried about players accepting money from people, regulate it to a point, don't just assume everything is "a work." By work, I mean that it is not just a prospective agent trying to woo a potential client.
It's no secret that there are a number of highly recruited college athletes who come from troubled home lives. There are many whose families have nothing and by achieving a college scholarship, it is the only way for their children to be able to attend college.
It is also the hope of those athletes to one day be able to achieve the goal of making it to the pros so they can make some money and send it back to their families, some of whom had never been able to gain monetary growth in their lives.
Samules and the Wildcats achieved their ultimate goal of getting into the NCAA tournament. As we all know, going on the road, for anything, does not come cheap. And while the NCAA does front some money towards the teams that enter their competitions, teams and their players do have to pay their own way as well.
Knowing he was about to go on a long road trip, Samules, presumably, saw he had no money to survive on the road for about a week and asked for some help from one of the people closest in his life, Malone.
Not only is it ridiculous to think that asking for money to eat on the road a violation, but the suddenness of the school's decision to suspend him is something that stands out on it's own.
The fact that a player can be suspended for accepting money to eat is asinine.
Sure, some college athletes get full rides to play sports for a school, but that does not cover everything. There are things such as food, bill payments, clothing and other essentials to life that a scholarship does not cover.
Pit that with someone who comes from a home life that does not include any leeway for money from their family, and getting a job being completely out of the question, what's a guy to do?
People may be in trouble financially and sometimes asking family is out of the question. Knowing that, asking a friend for help would seem to be the next step.
That's what Samuels did, and that's what Samuels got suspended for.
I know all the rules about accepting improper benefits and such from outside sources for college athletes and how some do it for their own selfish reasons. Yet to think that a student athlete could quite possibly be forced to go hungry because he can't ask for help in fear of breaking NCAA rules is truly a disappointment.
After something like this coming to light, maybe paying college athletes might not be the worst thing in the world.