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Bledsoe and Kanter

I’m sure you have heard by now about the Enes Kanter and Eric Bledsoe “situations.” To hear the media and rivals talk about it, Kentucky is *this close* to having their entire 2009-2010 season vacated. On top of that, they could receive the death penalty for recruiting a *gasp* Turkish “professional.” OK, that second one is mainly the rival fans grasping for any little thing they can in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

On the surface, you might think the University of Kentucky basketball team is on the verge of collapse. That is, if you only read stories by the main stream media (and big time hacks such as Pete Thamel). Let’s delve into each situation and see what is really going on, shall we?

First, the Eric Bledsoe “situation.” Let me start by saying there is NO NCAA INVESTIGATION. Let me repeat that. The NCAA is NOT investigating Eric Bledsoe and his grades. The report that came out 2 weeks ago came out last week came out earlier this week should be coming out today was performed by a law firm and was hired by the Alabama school board in an attempt to verify Bedsoe’s academic standing. Now. depending on the outcome of that report, the NCAA could decide to launch its own investigation. But that is not a forgone conclusion nor is it a forgone conclusion that Kentucky would have to forfeit games should this report or a potential NCAA investigation reveal discrepancies in Bledsoe’s grade.

Why? Let’s look to 2 examples. First, and it’s not the exact same situation, but Duke player Corey Maggette admitted to receiving money from an agent while still in high school. This would make him ineligible in the eyes of the NCAA. But the NCAA says that Duke had no way of knowing this while recruiting Maggette. Therefore, Duke would not be held responsible.

Secondly, Darrel Arthur of the national champion Kansas Jayhawks was found to have a grade changed in high school so he could play in a tournament. Again, the NCAA cleared Kansas of any wrongdoing because they had no way of knowing.

See any similarities? For Kentucky to get in trouble for anything involving Bledsoe, several things must happen. The current report must point to some wrongdoing before the NCAA would get involved. The NCAA must find some improprieties. And finally, the NCAA must determine Kentucky had reason to know Bledsoe received any type of benefit.

So simply put, currently, there is no Eric Bledsoe situation. Could there be in the future? Yes, it’s possible. But the media and rivals have used up all their ammunition on a private investigation.

Now, on to Enes Kanter. Why is everyone so up in arms about this guy? Yes, he played on a professional team in Turkey. Yes, he received some payment for playing the team. But the NCAA just instated a rule allowing foreign players to play college basketball should they meet certain criteria. Among other things, the criteria is that the player does not sign a contract and that the player does not receive payment determined to be for more than living expenses.

Simply put, this is not like years past.  Just because Kanter played on a pro team and received some money, he is not automatically ineligible.  If the NCAA determines Kanter did not sign a contract and did not receive more than living expenses, he will be playing for Kentucky at some point this coming season. I can understand why they are taking so long with the decision. This will set a precedent for foreign players wanting to play college basketball. Either they will see they can come to the states and work on becoming future NBA players or they will know they are wasting their time and just become professionals overseas.

The most talked about issue regarding Kanter has nothing to do with Kanter. It’s that this in some way adds more proof that John Calipari is “shady.” There is nothing shady about this. The information is in the open. The NCAA has what it needs to make a decision. It is a no lose situation for Calipari and Kentucky. Either Kanter is cleared to play and Kentucky gains a 5 star player or he is not cleared to play and Kentucky goes on about their business as if he was never recruited in the first place. As much as some people would like, there is no penalty for recruiting a player that is ultimately ruled ineligible.  As long as said player does not compete in any games.

Back to the business at hand. It could be argued the Turkish team Kanter played for is attempting to make him appear he is ineligible for 2 reasons. First being he would have to go back to play in Turkey (I’m not sure if that is 100% accurate but he would have to play overseas somewhere if he wanted to play anywhere). Second, the team stands to gain a significant amount of money if Kanter is drafted in the NBA without going through college first.

Hm, nope. I can’t see an ulterior motive there.

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