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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    NCAA priorities confusing

    Rules are enforced to establish authority, keep order and piss people off. The NCAA does a good job of the aforementioned, especially the latter.

    Yet even with its strict policies, exceptional conditions call for rare alterations in the rulebook.

    Last Thursday, members of the NCAA took their noses out of the college athletics bible and actually did something noble. Maybe it was the total lunar eclipse that occurred two days prior. Or maybe it was part of an annual humanity checkup.

    The NCAA granted a waiver for Oklahoma to create a fund to help with the funeral expenses for Herman Mitchell, a football recruit who was slain in his hometown of Houston.

    It would have been just like the stingy NCAA to turn its back on this situation and keep the school distanced from its once-promising athlete, but the NCAA made the right choice.

    Surprisingly, it’s the second respectable decision that the NCAA has made in the last year. Last September, Ray Ray McElrathbey, a freshman redshirt football player at Clemson, was granted a waiver of NCAA rules that forbid him and his brother to accept offers of free rides, clothing and food.

    Doesn’t it seem weird that a rule had to be changed for the McElrathbey and his brother to receive even a ride to and from school? The guy was taking care of his 11-year-old brother because their mother was addicted to crack cocaine, and their father had a gambling addiction. Still, the Clemson cornerback had to receive permission to get help. That’s just wrong.

    Why does an athlete have to be dead or raising his brother alone to receive a favor from the NCAA? These are student-athletes, yet it seems their problems revolve around issues that are not related to scholastics or athletics.

    Why was Arizona softball pitcher Taryne Mowatt not allowed to receive her gift bag when she won two ESPYs this summer? Peyton Manning got his and Lisa Leslie got hers. Of course, Mowatt couldn’t obtain hers because it would break NCAA rules. She couldn’t be given a waiver like McElrathbey and Mitchell? After all, she achieved many feats that had never been touched before in collegiate softball.

    What about when Arizona men’s basketball player Fendi Onobun decided that he wanted to co-author a book? The rules couldn’t have been altered so that he could receive credit for his work? Nope. It was against the rules. Even if it was a book about how to cure cancer, it wouldn’t be able to contain anything about the author or else he would lose his college eligibility.

    What nonsense.

    The NCAA has no problem with switching up the placement of the ball during kickoffs or changing when the clock starts and stops in football games. It has no problem with experimenting with where the 3-point line is on the basketball court. It has no problem with helping out a slain athlete or one that is responsible to take care of his younger brother. But it has a problem acknowledging things that they are expected to do as student-athletes.

    Because of their athletic and scholastic commitments, collegiate athletes work harder than the average student. Still, they are restricted by the oppressive hand of the NCAA.

    The rulebook needs to be rewritten so that student-athletes can be themselves.

    Lance Madden is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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