NCAA suspends Anfernee Hardaway for doing his job

I guess I’m confused.

I recently read that Anfernee Hardaway, head basketball coach of the University of Memphis Tigers, was suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season.

When I investigated why he was suspended, I found it all boiled down to him entering a recruit’s living room, or more accurately when he could, or could not, legally do so.  This sounded odd considering when we picture how, or more importantly where, coaches do their most impressive and wooing work, a family’s living room is the first location that comes to mind.

We have historically envisioned high-profile coaches visiting potentially, higher-profile prospects right in the comfort of their homes, with the recruit’s family members sitting by their side to ensure their kid’s best interests are at stake.  The coach would explain his mission, how the recruit would grow under their watch and most importantly ensure that if the athlete attended that university, the coach would have the kid’s back.

Apparently, doing this is still illegal according to the NCAA… or at least the timing of it is.  Which leads me back to my confusion.

I thought the NCAA disbanded all this nonsense.  We have college kids getting paid millions of dollars, now legally, to attend universities.  This whole process is still so new, we haven’t even seen fallout yet, aside of course from the Miami-Florida battle over Jaden Rashada.  Those two schools’ bidding fiasco over one of the nation’s top high school prospects entered eight-figure territory, only to see him abandon both schools and attend Arizona State.

So, if we are paying kids that much money to enroll, why is it still illegal for coaches to meet these kids’ parents in their living rooms and who gives a leap when they do it?  Isn’t visiting a kid more paying more attention to detail? Just when we thought the NCAA might be getting things right, they remind us that their priorities are askew as ever.  They even threw in a parting “Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse” shot for good measure, as if that’s in any way productive.  On the contrary, it smacks of petty, par for the course for that institution.

On a related note, I also read that the NCAA will no longer punish kids for marijuana use.  Do you know how long we (former) potheads have been lobbying for this?  I would like my official thank you in writing.

“Reconsidering the NCAA approach to cannabis testing and management is consistent with feedback from membership on how to better support and educate student-athletes in a society with rapidly evolving public health and cultural views regarding cannabis use.  Marijuana is not considered a performance- enhancing substance, but it remains important for member schools to engage student-athletes regarding substance use prevention and provide management and support when appropriate.”

  • Dr. Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer.

To recap, if we’re paying kids millions of dollars to attend universities to play football (or baseball or basketball or whatever) and are no longer punishing them for using marijuana, why are we still suspending coaches for when and how they can step into a family’s living room, especially when some of these coaches are recruiting kids when they hit the eighth grade?!?

We’ve read countless articles appropriately comparing the current state of college sports to the wild, wild west, with some athletes getting reimbursed handsomely for their name, image, and likeness.  They can also transfer schools on a whim with little repercussion. 

Meanwhile, still flying under the radar, video game companies like EA Sports continue to profit from athletes whose images they’re using without a format in place for properly reimbursing them, which is how this mess all started in the first place.

Yet Penny Hardaway, who appears to be the one of the few looking out for student athletes and their families is the one getting fined.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I understand that we need to have some semblance of rules (not like we ever did) but meeting with a kid’s family hardly seems suspension-worthy, especially when his peers are driving around with blood alcohol levels three times the legal limit while hand-selecting prostitutes for their athlete’s companionship.  And those are just the ones who got caught.

Just when we thought the NCAA might fade into obscurity, they continue to remind us of their self-serving, brow-beating nature.  Silly for us to have expected any different.

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2 Replies to “NCAA suspends Anfernee Hardaway for doing his job”

  1. Pingback: Tennessee fights back as the sports revolution remains televised - Sports Chump

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