Dez Bryant, a standout wide receiver from Oklahoma State University, made national headlines this week not for making unbelievable catches but for being ruled ineligible for the rest of the 2009 College football season.
The NCAA contends that Bryant lied to them when asked about his relationship with former NFL star, "Prime Time" Deion Sanders, who had invited Bryant over to his house for dinner after a quick jog. The NCAA believes that Sanders had an NFL agent present at his home to meet the star receiver and talk about the upcoming NFL draft.
Bryant stated that when he was interrogated by the NCAA officials he got scared and lied about going to Sander's home. He thought it was a violation to go to a NFL player's home.
Upon learning that it was indeed NOT a violation, he confessed that he did make an appearance at Sander's home, but that an agent was not present. Deion Sanders adamantly denied the agent being present. Despite his apology and Sander's claims, the NCAA ruled that Dez Bryant would not be eligible to play until September of 2010.
This is a very poor decision by the NCAA. They have not done anything more than encourage underclassmen that show any signs of being a great football player to in fact leave college and enter the NFL Draft.
Now I know all the purist's out there will argue that Dez broke the rules and therefore must suffer the stiffest punishment.
However, it would behoove all of us to remember one important fact: These are college kids! 18 to 24 year old kids that are still maturing. They are kids and they will make mistakes. He apologized publicly and gave a great reason why he did what he did, but you simply spit in his face.
I am not an Oklahoma State fan (in fact, I am a Sooner fan) but this decision by the NCAA is nothing more than a power play. They have in fact made it clear that there is no forgiveness or understanding given to any that would dare get close to any line they have laid out.
The kid was scared...pure and simple. He had already sit out games that certainly taught him that he cannot lie but to go overboard and cut his season for this is frankly ridiculous. Nice play NCAA, you just pushed more great young players to leave too soon in their development and go professional. You should be ashamed for this decision.
The days of student athletes staying a full four years in college are over and it is because of idiotic decisions like this. Go pro, Dez! I hope the Dallas Cowboys can grab you late in the first round of the NFL 2010 draft.