Blog Entry

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

Posted on: January 10, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 3:33 pm

Posted by Matt Jones

It seemed as if we had heard the last of Enes Kanter , at least until this spring’s NBA Draft, when the NCAA affirmed its original decision ruling him permanently ineligible on Friday. For Kanter and Kentucky, it was the last ditch effort to see the Turkish big man on the court in a blue uniform and for the media that has been following this story for over eight months, it was a welcome end to the seemingly never-ending saga. 

Or at least so we thought. Yesterday our own Seth Davis spoke with NCAA president Mark Emmert about Enes Kanter and relayed some of his thoughts at halftime of the Kansas-Michigan game. According to Davis, Emmert said that the Kanter decision should not have surprised most college basketball fans, as Enes was a professional due to the money he received from a professional club in Europe. Fair enough. While it has been noted that such a distinction is not necessarily to be found in an NCAA rule book , it at least works logically, even if it violates some sense of ex post facto fairness.

But then, as if to justify the decision further, Emmert went on to say that part of the reason no one should be surprised about the Kanter verdict is that very few teams recruited Kanter in the first place. Emmert’s assumption of course is that very few teams took the time to look into recruiting the talented big man because they all assumed he would not be eligible to play in the United States. While one who followed Kanter’s recruitment might disagree with that conclusion (plenty of teams inquired into his services), it also leaves out one salient point. One team that undoubtedly recruited Kanter and went so far as to take a commitment from him was Washington, coincidentally the university where Emmert was president at the time.

It seems quite an odd statement for Emmert to make and one that would seem to require some explanation. If Kanter was so certain to have been ineligible at the NCAA level, why would Emmert allow his university’s basketball program to recruit him. Surely Emmert knows that Washington took the commitment , so is he now suggesting that the school itself backed away from Kanter later in the process? If so, does that conclusion vibe with coach Lorenzo Romar’s, who has in the past expressed disappointment at losing Kanter to Kentucky after his decommitment, recollection of the matter? And even more importantly, if other programs didn’t recruit Kanter because of eligibility, why did Washington initially? Did it not look into those concerns initially or did the NCAA president’s former school simply not share them? Or maybe Emmert will simply say that as president of Washington, he didn't know anything about the recruitment of high-profile athletes for his university. So much for presidential oversight.

By making the rather bizarre statement to Davis , Emmert has opened up a new set of questions that likely need to be answered. The president probably could have simply said that Kanter was a professional and as such, the NCAA ruled him ineligible. But in his manifest desire to make the case seem more simplistic than it is, he has raised the question of what role his former university may have had in the Kanter case and how his time at that university fits in with the idea that schools stayed away from the apparent professional.

In recent cases, the NCAA seems to have taken the approach that it should explain its decisions more thoroughly and respond to criticism it receives after the judgments. However in case after case, these “explanations” seems to raise more questions than existed prior to them. While I generally applaud an organization that says more rather than less, it seems not to work for the NCAA. Maybe the organization should heed the famous words of Mark Twain and cease to talk, as with each explanation, it is slowly removing any doubt of their consistently inconsistent decision-making process.

Photo: AP

Since: Apr 5, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2011 6:42 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

You anti-UK types who want us to count our blessings on Wall and Bledsoe might want to consider the fact that both issues were sheer BS invented by the media to hurt UK and Cal.  They have been out to get both for decades.  It goes back to the late 1940's in fact.  The BS about Rupp and racism (before you bellow state law forbade blacks from attending UK for the vast majority of Rupp's career and he attempted to recruit blacks after that but what black in their right mind wanted to be the first to tour the south with Ky kicking the cans of every school in Confederate country?)  was among the first things the national press heaped on UK because of one thing, UK went to NYC and kicked the cans of the big NYC teams of the day which the national press worshipped like they do Duke now.  Yes CBS this means you.  You can trace those ridiculous attempts to slander UK to reporters with grudges against UK.  And you're blind enough to believe it too.  Jealousy is such an ugly thing.  <br /> <br /> Kanter got that money for HIS EDUCATION, not to play basketball.  Big difference.  Yet you root for some cheesy third world crud to get over on a player who did everything the NCAA told him to do.  Did you hear that part?  Of course you didn't.  You have envy in your ears.<br />

Since: Apr 5, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2011 4:18 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

I know this article is a week old but it's amazing that no one has mentioned the fact that the NCAA told UK that Kanter would be eligible over and over again. Why else would UK continue to promote him and tell everyone he would play? Even after the initial decision declaring him ineligible they told UK to appeal and it would be worth the effort. The NCAA went out of their way to make UK look bad on this. It's time to disband that criminal organization. RICO comes to mind. Billions of dollars are on the line yet they get a pass to cheat like crazy. Jail time seems the right thing to do to me.

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2011 2:18 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

I'm trying to figure out how a player can receive $33K from a professional team in another country and not think that it would affect his eligibility in the US?? I realize from everything I've read about this case that this is a bit of a travesty because he didn't use the money, nor did he really want it. His parents were willing to pay it back. But, (and this is the three letter word that changes everything) he did receive the money and it's against the rules. UK wanted or were hoping that the rules wouldn't apply because....They wanted him to play.
Kentucky had enough top recruits without him that they were still a preseason top 10. Kentucky took a chance on him in hopes of winning a National Championship. It didn't pan out. It's too bad but that's the way it is. This story isn't a story. The kid received money to play ball. Whether it was taken or not, it didn't change the fact that he played professionally in Europe. Look at Brandon Jennings, he couldn't pass an SAT test so he had to go to Europe to play to get into the NBA. Enes is just doing it backwards. Kind of like the country he came from.

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2011 2:11 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

I just feel bad for the kid.  UK knew after the first appeals process that this just wasn't going to fly but Kanter and the family wanted to give it another shot.  Kudo's to UK for trying every possible avenue to make this kids wishes happen.  There are three undeniable facts in this case:
  1. The kid (or his family) accepted money making him a professional according to the NCAA rules.
  2. The kid (and his family)  did NOT wish to professionalize but were ignorant of the specifics regarding the NCAA (the fam or the kid did not need the monies).
  3. The NCAA just doesn't give a sh*t about this individual.  The NCAA has plenty of (recent) precedent concerning individuals that accepted undue benefits from would be agents to allow for Kanter to pay some penalty other than total banishment but they (the NCAA) didn't want to open that door.
Being a UK fan, it would have helped this years team be successful to have Kanter in uniform but the big thing is that I would have wished the kids sacrifices would have meant as much to the NCAA as it should and that he could play college ball somewhere this year or next.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:03 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

you cat fanatics didnt think it was a bad decision on john wall and eric bledsoe count your blessings and move on

Since: Dec 30, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2011 8:26 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

Not everyone at UW was sad to see him leave. The following is one of the comments to a article and a link to the article concerning Emmert’s refusing to cut his or his buddies salary but ended up laying off about 1000 UW employees right before he decided to go to the NCAA and continue being a standup guy, several articles on the internet on the subject; reading the articles one could see he is pretty thin skinned when answering or not answering question about his salary and the layoffs among other subjects. HE comes across as just arrogant.

“Emmert sure did NOT step up to the plate. Months later and a thousand or so layoff’s later and Mr. President Emmert did NOT take a pay cut. He skirts the question and gets visibly ruffled whenever anyone asks him about it. He’s in it for the money and nobody else can convince me otherwise. I see it firsthand every day.”

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2011 7:31 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

One would hate to think that the President of the NCAA/University of Washington thought at the time of Kanters recruitment by Washington that he could, by virtue of his position, get Kanter eligible. Once Washington lost out on the recruit, it is a short leap to say ineligible, and we did not "reall" wan the number 1 player for 2010.

Since: Feb 23, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2011 6:07 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

If it was so painfully obvious that he was not going to be cleared, why did it take 8 months for the NCAA to make its decision. I mean, come on. I agree that if he had gone to UW, he would likely have only had to sit out 7-8 games. But hey, if he had gone to Kansas, he would have likley played immediately and KU would even be allowed to pay back the $33,000 out of his scholarship. It worked for Selby. Why wasn't Selby labled a professional like Matt pointed out.  He took money and cars from an agent.  Get real, NCAA.  You are looking more and more like a joke with every decision you make.

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2011 5:41 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

If Kanter had stayed with Washington, he would have been eligible immediately! The President of the NCAA, and his comrades would have "looked the other way"!

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2011 5:36 pm

NCAA president makes baffling remark on Kanter

Great article Matt, as always.

I think Cal and the University should forfeit one of their unpcoming nationally televised games in protest of this ridiculous ruling. Just show up to a game as normal, then just sit there on the bench with Free Enes shirts on. I would hate to take the loss, but let's be real, without Kanter, we're not winning a title this year anyway. So let's make this national news and bring down the whole NCAA! lol Sorry, I know, that's crazy talk. Sounds good though and after reading your article I'm even more upset with this decision. Clearly a conflict of interest!

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