By Mick Holien
It can’t happen to anyone no matter how well you believe you are versed in the NCAA rules determining eligibility.
And while every time I learn of such indiscretions, I remember how close I came to bringing down the same wrath on this broadcaster and the first 7 footer to play at the University of Montana.
Fortunately we got around it.
It seemed innocent enough. UM signed an Oregon senior, Don Carter, to a national letter of intent and he was set to attend classes after graduating from an Oregon high school.
As I remember the tale, we were playing in Eugene and here I was with an Oregon athlete who had committed to Missoula sitting in the stands and of course I am going to do a halftime interview to introduce him to our fans.
Little did I know a student athlete must be enrolled in classes and attending before they are official and thus coaching staffs in general and me in particular can’t talk about them or to them in public.
Of course someone in the league heard about it and tattled – really that’s often how it works-and he stood to lose some games because of my error.
But the NCAA determined it was such a minor offense, there would be thank goodness no penalty.
Early in my career Lady Griz point guard Margaret Williams needed a ride home to Spokane for Charismas and I was headed that way. It didn’t matter even if she was hitchhiking down the Interstate, I could not give her a ride – How bizarre.
At Indiana University recently, defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald lost his initial year of eligibility because the school’s compliance officer did not properly advise him of eligibility requirements.
While the school asked for a waiver, it was refused late last week and the Bloomington school has altered how such info is passed along to the student athlete.
As a non qualifier he still gets aide and services but cannot practice or play in games. If Bryant graduates on time, he can petition the NCAA to regain the lost year of eligibility – That used to be called prop 48.
Now how can that be fair to the athlete?