The almighty overlords of college athletics are heavy handed and many times as irrational as a little kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. As they say, the NCAA giveth, and the NCAA taketh away.
Over the years they’ve been good to Cincinnati, granting defensive back Dominque Battle an extra year of eligibility due to an injury and doing the same for quarterback Brendon Kay. The latter was absolutely instrumental in Cincinnati’s success this past season. I can’t imagine what UC football in 2013 would have been like without Kay. But just when we start to believe the NCAA is moving down the path of righteousness, they pull out the rug from under us.
Bill Koch at the Cincinnati Enquirer revealed the gritty details of how restrictive the NCAA has been on freshman Jamaree Strickland. The 6’11″ center signed with the Bearcats in the last recruiting cycle with the hopes of learning under the tutelage of Justin Jackson and become a frontrunner for a starting role in the low post next season. But the NCAA put a halt to that.
…the NCAA would not accept eight courses that Strickland took at MetWest High School in Oakland, Calif., which made the 6-foot-11, 270-pound center ineligible to play during his freshman year.
One course I could see as potentially questionable (we all took a few gimmy classes in our life) but eight?! Holy crap! Something’s not right there. Is the NCAA really saying that eight courses, probably a good 20% of the high school’s full curriculum, is illegitimate? That makes no sense! Methinks this is just another example of the NCAA waiving around its fist randomly and landing it on an unsuspecting student. Jay Bilas seems to echo my sentiments that the governing organization of college athletics is being too heavy handed in this instance.
Can anyone provide a common sense explanation of the point of these NCAA rules? http://t.co/0efzhFEvpa Let the schools decide.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 23, 2014
And just how much can Strickland do in his first year on campus? Per the Enquirer article, not much.
…the NCAA won’t let him practice either. Or eat a team meal. Or stay in the hotel the night before a home game with the rest of the team. He can’t even be around if the coaches are instructing the players.
So basically Jamaree Strickland is a student athlete without a team. The NCAA, despite UC apparently sending over a forest’s worth of paperwork, just isn’t loosening their reigns. Strickland probably will be redshirted this season but he wouldn’t have been originally. Head coach Mick Cronin would have played him in the low post this season, relieving Justin Jackson, and giving UC more depth at the position in general.
The biggest beef I have is how restrictive the NCAA is being. Not letting Strickland practice or even be remotely around the team in organized functions is extremely detrimental to his development. As a freshman thousands of miles away from home, those casual moments with teammates are critical to growing his confidence and making him feel like a member of a second family. It’s the more human aspect of being a student athletic, or any student in their first year in college, that the NCAA is obstructing here and it’s damn sickening.
Nice job putting the interest of the player first, you soulless, cold-hearted organization.