College football is the land of opportunity for thousands of kids who want a shot to play at the next level in the NFL. It's a privilege to be a scholarship athlete, not a right.
Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks decided Jeremiah Masoli lost his privilege to be a scholarship athlete and the face of Oregon football after a string of incidents, so they kicked him off the team.
Now, through a loophole in college football's rules, Masoli is attempting to transfer to Mississippi: Masoli is enrolling in a graduate program at Ole Miss that isn't offered at Oregon.
The college football season kicks off in less than a week, and the NCAA has yet to clear the quarterback's transfer request. Here are the top five reasons the NCAA should block the former Oregon star's request to play football this season.
There's nothing more frustrating than to see an athlete try to take advantage of the system, and that's exactly what Masoli is trying to do.
In January, Masoli and a former teammate who was kicked off the team days ealier were blamed for robbing a fraternity house of multiple items including computers. Masoli lied about his involvement to the coaching staff, which got him into even more trouble.
Masoli pled guilty, and his felony charge was dropped to a misdemeanor, and he received 12 months of probation. Literally a slap on the wrist, but Kelley decided to suspend Masoli for the entire 2010 season.
Then in June, Masoli was pulled over and cited for possession of marijuana and traffic charges. The charges of "possible" violation of probation are still pending. Being charged with possession of marijuana sure seems like it would be a violation of probation, but it's still a wait and see.
Kelly and Oregon decided they were through with Masoli and kicked him off the team. The marijuana possession isn't a big deal, but when you're already on probation it doesn't seem very intelligent to be traveling with an illegal substance in your possession.
The NCAA needs to set an example in this case. Masoli was given two chances at Oregon, and he blew his second chance in under six months.
Houston Nutt has done a good job of building a solid program at Ole Miss, but this would be a step in the wrong direction. If Jevan Snead hadn't left for the NFL a year early—an obvious mistake—we wouldn't be having this conversation.
But Nutt is obviously desperate for production at the QB position, and it doesn't seem he has confidence in the players he's recruited to play under center.
It was likely a transitional year for the program anyway after losing Snead and Dexter McCluster on offense.
Nutt is showing his players and recruits that it's okay to be above the law, and the NCAA should step in.
If a player has one mistake, then a second chance is warranted in most situations. However, two mistakes within six months of each other is a joke. How a player can't change his attitude or behavior after getting suspended for an entire season is hard to understand, but that seems to be the boat Masoli's riding in.
Schools should handle player discipline internally, and the NCAA shouldn't step in unless it's a unique case. The Masoli situation should be a unique case.
North Carolina is running into some issues about eligibility issues with certain players. Some players may have received benefits or payments, but they didn't commit a crime. They did, however, break a rule set forth by the NCAA.
Dez Bryant visited the home of Deion Sanders last year and lied to the NCAA about the visit, and he later apologized for doing so. The main focus of the problem was whether agents were at the home when Bryant visited.
Well, the NCAA hit Bryant with a season-ending suspension. Bryant violated a rule, but he didn't break any laws. The NCAA wasn't even sure if agents were in attendance, but since there was speculation, they suspended him for the remainder of the year.
The NCAA will look absolutely ridiculous if they allow Masoli to play anywhere this year. You suspend Bryant for a year because he lies about visiting an ex-NFL star's house, but Masoli was said to be at the scene of a burglary, lied about the situation to his coaching staff and then violated his probation and he may still be allowed to play.
That doesn't make much sense either way you look at it. Rules are rules, but where do laws fall? Do laws not apply to the NCAA? You're allowed to play if you break multiple laws, but if you break one rule you're ineligible?
All legitimate questions, but if that's the case, the NCAA needs to make a few modifications to its eligibility requirements.
If anything, the NCAA needs to make an example of Masoli and his current situation. They're sending the wrong message to college football players, high school players, and athletes that dream of playing sports at a higher level.
Transferring from one school to another is hard enough for most players, and it's usually because they don't see eye to eye with a coach, a new coach has been hired, or they're not in love with the system they'll play in.
The NCAA is aware of this, so to prevent players from switching programs whenever they please, they set a rule that you must sit out a year if you transfer to another program within the same collegiate level.
Masoli was technically kicked off the team, so the NCAA should first look at the reasons why. Those reasons are evident and have already been discussed.
The NCAA will and should lose credibility if they allow a player who was kicked off the team because of criminal activity to transfer to a different school because of a "graduate program" that isn't offered at the previous school. It's completely backwards and shouldn't be allowed.
Chip Kelly has had an interesting time at Oregon in the last year. A number of players have been arrested and have come under fire.
Early last season there was LeGarrette Blount's punch that grabbed headlines for weeks. Kelley suspended Blount for the year but then decided to reinstate him late in the season.
Kelly gave him one more chance. Kelly also gave Masoli one more chance, but before Oregon could take the field in 2010, Masoli had already blown it.
There are a number of other players who have had legal troubles at Oregon lately. Kelly obviously has his hands full with player discipline and probably should change the type of person he recruits.
If the NCAA allows Masoli to transfer and play at another program after Kelley gave him a second chance, that's going to open the door for other troubled athletes in college sports.
Rules are rules, but laws should hold greater meaning to any athletic association. The problem has to be controlled, and it needs to stop now before the NCAA loses credibility and looks more like a hypocrite than a collegiate athletic association.