Dez Wells: Why the NCAA Would Be Wrong to Rule the Maryland Player Ineligible
We've witnessed it before and we will repeatedly witness it again. The NCAA has become, without a doubt, the "ultimate bully" in sports.
Whether it be failing to match past precedents that they set themselves, or simply acting unfair and unsympathetic towards collegiate athletes, the NCAA has become one of the most enigmatic, incomprehensible organizations in the sports world.
Once again, the NCAA is reviewing a hardship waiver submitted by a college basketball transfer. This time, the transfer is former Xavier guard Dez Wells.
Wells was wrongfully expelled from the University of Xavier in August for "violating student code." The university claimed that Wells was guilty of sexual assault. Prosecutor Joe Deters almost immediately dismissed the case, stating that the expulsion was fundamentally unfair and flawed.
Deters requested that Xavier reconsider Wells' expulsion and stated that the matter "should have never gotten to the point where someone's reputation is ruined."
Wells' reputation was ultimately repaired when Deters explained that Wells had done nothing wrong. The sophomore guard later chose Maryland as his new school.
He submitted a hardship waiver to the NCAA claiming that he never should have been expelled from Xavier in hopes of avoiding the one-year of ineligibility that most transfers receive.
With the college basketball season set to begin in less than three weeks, many are surprised to see that Wells has not received a verdict on whether he will be eligible to play for Maryland when they face off against Kentucky on November 9th in Brooklyn.
It would only make sense that a decision would be made soon, given the time constraints between the current date and the first game of the season.
So as Wells and Maryland await the decision, it's time to answer the burning question: How should the NCAA rule Dez Wells' case?
Take the perspective of Wells himself.
Aside from the infamous Cincinnati-Xavier brawl last season, in which he was suspended for four games, Wells has no marks on his personal record. Wells wasn't nearly the worst contributor to that debacle and many have forgotten that he was even involved.
So, a generally clean, good-natured kid receives word that he is expelled from his school for something he didn't do. He accepts the unfortunate situation and moves on to the University of Maryland.
Before the allegations, Wells is an innocent man preparing to play his sophomore year of college basketball. After the allegations, Wells is an innocent man that isn't preparing to play his sophomore year of college basketball, because he isn't eligible.
That's just preposterous.
Why can the NCAA just take away a year of a man's basketball career for something he did not do? That's an inhumane act, in my opinion, and something that has no place in the world of college basketball.
Should Dez Wells be ruled ineligible?
Let's compare the Dez Wells situation to the Trey Zeigler situation.
Trey Zeigler was one of the nation's top high school prospects in 2010. His father, Ernie Zeigler, was the coach at Central Michigan.
Like many players in the same circumstances have done, Zeigler elected to play for his father at Central Michigan, despite carrying scholarship offers from plenty of schools with better reputations in more competitive conferences.
After Ernie Zeigler was fired this offseason, Trey opted to transfer from Central Michigan to Pittsburgh. Unsurprisingly, he filed to received a hardship waiver, hoping to become eligible right away.
In what came as an alarming shock to me, Zeigler had his waiver granted and will suit up for Pittsburgh this season.
If Trey Zeigler can transfer without having to sit out a season just because his school hired a new coach, than Dez Wells should be able to do the same.
Zeigler was simply escaping a disadvantageous situation. That is the reason why most athletes transfer. But most athletes are forced to sit out a season, and Zeigler is not.
Wells is leaving Xavier because he was forced to. Furthermore, Wells was forced to leave for a crime he did not commit.
The NCAA continually contradicts themselves and its reaching an intolerable point. The biggest recent example of their bullying ways was the ineligibility ruling of Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis who was denied an extra year of eligibility after missing nearly an entire season due to an ACL injury.
If Maryland's Dez Wells receives a similar verdict to Abromaitis, the NCAA will lose an abundant amount of respect throughout the college basketball world.
It's no longer acceptable for the NCAA to make outrageous rulings, and an ineligible Dez Wells will most certainly be that.
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