Long delays in deciding the eligibility of Kansas University basketball player Josh Selby raise questions about the NCAA enforcement policies and procedures.
It seems likely that the NCAA is justified in investigating some of Selby’s contacts with the business manager of NBA player Carmelo Anthony as well as Selby’s academic record at three different high schools. But how can the NCAA justify delays that resulted in Selby missing the first 13 days of class in KU’s fall semester and now is leaving Selby, his teammates and his coaches in limbo, not knowing when or if the point guard will be able to participate in Jayhawk games?
The delays suggest that the NCAA needs to rethink its process or its staffing for enforcement matters. Waiting until 13 days into the fall semester to clear Selby to attend class is a disservice to Selby and makes a mockery of the NCAA’s supposed emphasis on “student” athletes and graduation rates.
The NCAA has had months to look into Selby’s amateur eligibility, but the Jayhawks have started their exhibition schedule not knowing whether Selby will be allowed to play. The delay affects not only the team as a whole, but the futures of individual players who are trying to decide whether to red-shirt for the season.
Investigators need to be careful in their work, but it seems they’ve had plenty of time to determine whether any violations were serious enough to affect Selby’s playing status. If additional staffing will help speed the NCAA process, officials owe it to the students and coaches to dedicate that staffing, especially in the major revenue sports.
A recent story out of the University of Iowa also raises questions about NCAA rules and whether the association is concentrating on the issues that really matter in college athletics. Iowa officials received a letter from NCAA staff after a newspaper reported that two prospective recruits had met actors and Hawkeye fans Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at an Iowa-Iowa State football game in September. Two non-athlete students could have met the same people and attracted no attention, but such a meeting for basketball recruits would be a recruiting violation.
In any case, the NCAA wasted no time in addressing the situation, sending a letter to Iowa in late October, just four days after the published report of the meeting. Might the time the NCAA was spending investigating the Moore-Kutcher caper have been better used settling Josh Selby’s playing status?
Hopefully, an announcement on Selby is not far off and the Kansas team can take whatever steps are necessary and then turn their attention toward the upcoming season.