Dick Vitale Curbstomps NCAA Prez Into Response

In an interview with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Seth Davis this week, new NCAA President Mark Emmert couldn’t have been more forceful in supporting his organization’s decision to rule Kentucky basketball recruit Enes Kanter permanently ineligible to play basketball at UK.

Dick Vitale curbstomps NCAA president into response

Emmert to Davis:

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

If you have followed the NCAA over the years, you recognize the stunning, nearly unprecedented candor being displayed by a sitting NCAA President over a particular enforcement ruling.  So with that in mind, it’s no surprise that Emmert’s candor was most likely far from a coincidence.

On November 23, 2009, Todd Dybas of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reported that Kanter had verbally committed to the University of Washington. In a long post extolling the virtues of Kanter’s on-court game by Dybas, there was no mention of the possibility that Kanter may have been facing NCAA eligibility questions. And if there were, obviously Washington, UCLA and USC were not overly concerned, as all three schools were in the running for Kanter’s basketball services at the time. (Kentucky later entered the picture, obviously.)

Kanter eventually de-committed from Washington a year later, which led Huskies Coach Lorenzo Romar to say at the time:

“You develop relationship with kids, and in your mind you have a vision with how it’s going to work with them in this program and how you’re going to help this kid develop and how they’re going to help you. Then, when that changes, it’s disappointing.

“When you’re recruiting someone and they’ve never committed to you and they go elsewhere, then that’s a part of what we do. But if someone does say, ‘I’m picking you, I’m coming with you and we’re getting ready to do this together from here on out,’ and then if they were to change their mind, it’s very disappointing.”

So Romar was indisputably still on Kanter’s trail up until the Turkish recruit’s decision to de-commit from Washington.

Now back to Mark Emmert’s statement about Kanter to Seth Davis this week:

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

Who exactly was the President of the University of Washington when the Huskies received their verbal commitment from Kanter? (And subsequently Kanter’s “very disappointing” de-commit?)

Mark Emmert.

But even with that intersection of what some may view as mere coincidence, why was Emmert so heated in defending his NCAA’s decision to render Kanter’s ineligible?

Enter Dick Vitale. Read more…