Almost 99% of players reinstated, but is Kanter an exception?

While pondering the appeal the University of Kentucky will make on behalf of freshman Enes Kanter, I stumbled upon an encouragement statistic that seems too good to be true.

The NCAA website includes a feature called “Behind the Blue Disk on student-athlete reinstatement. A look behind the blue disk included the factoid that the NCAA receives more than 1,000 reinstatement requests each year. Of those, nearly 99 percent of the requests result in the athlete being reinstated.

That would suggest that UK should expect Kanter’s eligibility to be restored. On Thursday, the NCAA announced that he would be permanently ineligible.

The problem for UK is that the Kanter case is complex, involving a foreign professionial team, two languages and who knows what other issues? Most of the 99 percent of reinstatements are for much smaller violations such as accepting a ride from a booster or having to pay back a $300 loan or a relatively small extra benefit (for example, a booster paying for dinner).

According to the NCAA announcement on Thursday, Kanter’s case involving $33,033 of compensation from the Turkish pro team that go beyond the permitted “actual and necessary” expenses a player can receive and retain amateur status.

Of course, it seems UK fans will know the outcome of the Kanter appeal by the first week of December. UK is hoping Kanter’s friendly and winning personality will persuade the reinstatement committee that his eligibilty should be restored.


3 comments ↓

#1 Brad on 11.13.10 at 10:51 pm

Yes you Kanter!

#2 » BBL: Kentucky takes care of (second-half) business John Clay’s Sidelines on 11.14.10 at 11:04 am

[…] Almost 99 percent of players are re-instated, but Kanter could be different, blogs Tipton. […]

#3 Wheatgerm on 11.14.10 at 7:24 pm

Renaldo Sidney received $11,800 in impermissible benefits and violated ethics rules by lying about it to the NCAA. The NCAA will allow him to play Division I basketball later this year.

Enes Kanter received $33,033 in impermissible benefits and, from all appearances, couldn’t have been more forthcoming. Yet the NCAA has banned him for life.

What is the rational connection between the facts found and the punishments imposed? Were Sidney’s impermissible benefits more permissible by nature? (Though not paid directly, Kanter applied his benefit toward education, which is a permissible purpose, with the remainder unspent in an account.) Or did Sidney’s impermissible benefits happen to fall below an unknown line in the sand? Would Kanter have been banned if he received $11,800 as well? $15,000? $18,000?

UK will no doubt argue that the mechanical application of arcane rules will bring an unjust result when not tempered by common sense and a respect for the spirit of those rules, which the Kanters followed. But there is another argument to be made about the arbitrary and capricious line the NCAA has drawn between restitution and suspension on the one hand, and permanent ineligibility on the other. And that’s an argument the Reinstatement Committee does not want the courts to entertain.