Nebraska Basketball: The Tale of Roburt Sallie

Clark FoslerCorrespondent IMay 30, 2008

Hardcore college basketball fans may recognize the name Roburt Sallie. 


He is a 6'5", 200 pound combo guard who has populated the recruiting scene since way back in 2005.  Sallie is a triple-double talent with NBA potential who has been recruited by some of the best programs in the country not once, not twice, but three separate times. 


Originally, Sallie signed with the University of Washington in 2005 after playing for Patterson Prep.  He did not qualify academically and opted to spend another year in prep school, this time at the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. 


Let me go on record here as being fully aware that many of these prep schools are little more than basketball factories.  Still, the NCAA recognizes them as legitimate academic institutionsalbeit with a warranted amount of skepticism. 


Anyway, Sallie spurned the likes of Memphis, Maryland, Wake Forest, and Kansas to sign with Nebraska in 2006.  I am a Nebraskaf an, have been for many years, and Sallie was easily the most anticipated basketball recruit since Tyronn Lue.


One problem quickly arose: the NCAA Clearing House did not like Sallie's transcript.  Sure, Roburt had the grades and the test scores, but that was not enough.  The Clearing House wanted homework papers and copies of tests. 


Quick show of hands from those of you who kept any of that more than the amount of time it took you to walk out of the classroom when you were in college.  Anyone?  Bueller?


Well, the Clearing House, apparently overwhelmed, just could not seem to make a decision on Sallie.  Would he be eligible or not? 


Time ticked by and August turned into September.  For those you not aware, the University of Nebraska starts classes at the end of August.   Nebraska changed head coaches and staff in August as Barry Collier resigned and Doc Sadler came onboard.  Sallie stuck with the school.


Roburt came to Lincoln, hung out with his future teammates and waited for the NCAA to say yes or no.  On Monday, September 11, Sallie attended classes, still waiting for his eligibility. 


Finally, on Thursday the 14, the talented guard was ruled academically ineligible.   Sallie eventually headed to City College of San Francisco and did not play basketball in 2006-07. 


Last season, he returned to the court, led the team to a 27-4 record, and was named California Community College Player of the Year.  On track to get his associate's degree this summer, Sallie remained loyal and was set to return to Nebraska this fall.


Not so fast, my friends.  


It seems that through confusion and poor administration, someone at Nebraska actually enrolled Sallie for classes on September 11th, 2006.  The difference between attending and enrolling put Sallie in violation of Big 12 rule 6.2. 


Now, any rule with decimal point in it generally means too many administrators had too much input.  In this case, Big 12 Rule 6.2 states that "a student who enrolls must meet initial eligibility requirements or he will NEVER be allowed to play for any Big 12 school."


This rule was made by the Big 12 Presidents because they feared that student-athletes would circumvent the recruiting standards by enrolling in college as non-qualifiers and then join their team once they did gain eligibility.  


They FEARED it.  God forbid we expose non-qualifiers to college life.  What would become of society then?


You can read this story and certainly see where the University of Nebraska really screwed up.  It is worthy to note that the Nebraska representative to the "Big 12 Council of Faculty Athletics" was not even aware that Nebraska had signed Sallie  to play again last fall. 


Listen, I don't care if you don't like sports.  If you are a rep to that council, it's probably part of your job to keep track of recruits.  Besides, Sallie recommitting was pretty big news around these parts.


Still, screwups and well-intentioned rules aside, tell me exactly how the NCAA and the Big 12 have helped this particular young man become a better person?   Tell me how being denied admission to college life THREE separate times makes a young adult a more productive member of society.  


In the end, Sallie is apparently eligible to play anywhere but the Big 12, and rumors have him headed to Kentucky. 


Roburt will come out okay, but there remains something sad about a young man remaining loyal to a school for three years, continuing to make himself academically eligible only to be derailed by a rule with a decimal point made by administrators who barely hide their contempt for major college athletics.