NCAA Lacks Fairness in Determining Athlete Eligibility

Scott McDowellContributor IINovember 12, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 17:  Josh Selby #32 of West Team goes up for a shot against East Team during the National Game at the 2010 Jordan Brand classic at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand Classic)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Freshman Josh Selby will sit at the end of the Kansas bench tonight when the Jayhawks take on Longwood in the season opener because of NCAA indecisiveness. The No. 1 rated college basketball recruit out of Baltimore has done everything asked of him since signing his letter to attend KU, however Selby remains a wallflower while eligibility officers drag their feet in determining his fate.

Yes, the same NCAA officers who this week determined Kentucky’s Enes Kanter was ineligible, and the same compliance crew allowing Auburn’s Cameron Newton to play Saturday after mounting allegations have drawn attention from the FBI.

At least NCAA officials gave John Calipari and Kentucky bad news before the start of the season, whereas Bill Self and his team remain in the dark regarding its prized prospect. The Selby situation is similar to UK’s uncertainty regarding No. 1 basketball recruit John Wall last year.

The fine people at the NCAA investigated Wall’s relationship with his AAU coach and concluded he received $800 worth of improper money. He was suspended for one regular season game and ordered to pay back the money after punishment was handed down in October.

Selby drew NCAA concern after it came to light he had a friendly relationship with Robert “Bay” Frazier, the business manager of Carmelo Anthony. The compliance committee had Spring, Summer, and now Fall to gather information and reach a conclusion regarding Selby, but estimates fluctuate on when the official announcement will be given.

Self and Selby both reiterate nothing happened to violate NCAA rules and have  publicly shown respect toward the process, but behind closed doors I guarantee the program is fuming at the lack of due process.

There needs to be a standard procedure and time table for the NCAA to reach conclusions relating to eligibility matters. How were they able to come to a decision on Kanter, who’s circumstance was much more complex because he played overseas, before the homegrown Selby case?

If it comes to light that the potential one-and-done college player took substantial money from an NBA-related entity, then I have no problem with Selby being ruled ineligible. But until these facts are brought to the surface and facts are made public, the NCAA is in the wrong.

Sports Illustated’s Seth Davis wrote:

“When will the answer come? Hard to say. I posed that question this week to two people in the know. One said we are still a few weeks away, the other said it should happen sometime next week.

Kansas coach Bill Self has repeatedly voiced confidence that in the end the kid will be cleared, but when you’re playing your first game and you still don’t know for sure, I don’t see how you can be so confident. Here we are in mid-November, and Selby and Kansas are still waiting. And that’s not right.”

Kansas opens the season tonight against Longwood, not the stiffest competition, and won’t miss Selby’s physical presence on the court. However, the NCAA is hindering a program based on its own ineptness, something that flat out isn’t fair to Kansas or any other team around the country waiting to receive word on a player (Tom Crean and Indiana are still awaiting word on starting center Guy Marc-Michel).

This weekend Selby will sit on the sideline against a glorified scrimmage opponent waiting on NCAA wrath, while Cameron Newton faces Georgia with BCS Championship implications on the line, awaiting FBI word. Something that may screw over TCU and Boise State if it’s revealed Auburn is a fraud after the fact.

Where is the fairness in that? It’s not. The National Collegiate Athletic Association could have some major explaining to do.

Jeff Passan and Dan Wetzel recently wrote a book titled “Death to the BCS.” It might be time to run a “Death to the NCAA” idea to your publisher.