Worst. Decision. Ever.
The NCAA just disqualified a once homeless walk-on football player because he accepted help from a friend. Years ago. In another town. In another state. When he needed the help the most. Because he had the audacity and arrogance to chose not to be homeless.
Take a bow, NCAA. This is your moment in the sun. Take it all in.
NCAA, you’re better than this. Sure you are a faceless conglomeration of names and institutions that nobody likes to have to deal with but you’re still better than this. I mean, at least you are not FIFA. #AmIRight?
But wait folks, this story is continuing to evolve. The NCAA tweeted they did not “declare Silas Nacita ineligible and Baylor has not requested a wavier for him.”
You can read the whole story as reported by ESPN here. Essentially, this has devolved into a finger pointing match between the NCAA and Baylor. Either way, it makes my blood boil.
As a writer, I’m almost at a loss for words. Which is frightening, because I get paid to talk and write. Don’t worry, fair reader. I appreciate any concern you might have had for me just then. I’ll survive. Like Donna Summers, I will survive.
Thinking about this has made my eye begin twitching in sync with the pulsing of my duodenum.
Let’s first go to the story and read past the headlines and twitter posts and unpack this a little bit.
It is very likely that the NCAA found out about the alleged VIOLATIONS from an article published by Sports Illustrated in Dec. of 2014.
Seriously, NCAA? You have got to be kidding. In what light and through what lens did that story begin to churn the wheels of disqualification? Is this not the kind of determination you WANT to participate?! Was it the part where Nacita pleads that he had “no money?” Was it the part where he slept in a ditch in 19 degree weather. Or perhaps it was the part where his coach commends his grit and determination. Granted, Nacita isn’t an All-American, but he is a gutsy young man with heart; he’s scored only three touchdowns for Baylor to-date and has a nominal amount of rushing yards. He’s not going to play in the NFL. But he deserves to.
I think it is very simple. The NCAA simply does not understand the concept of having “no money.” Or having to sleep in a ditch. Or having to fight for ANYTHING. For instance in 2013 they reported a surplus of $61 million for its fiscal year along with hundreds of millions of dollars in net assets and revenue each and every year. Yep, a “membership-driven organization dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of student-athletes and equipping them with the skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom and throughout life…” just doesn’t get it.
Now, let’s all breath a few deep breaths. Let’s all just try to remain calm.
No? Me neither. So let the fire-breathing begin.
Here, let me try to help.
A multi-million dollar organization (the NCAA) with essentially a lock on free, willing, and able bodies for the year-round slaughterhouse that is any collegiate athletic sport or competition just told a young kid that he should have remained homeless.
Let’s try that again, I don’t think you heard me the first time.
This modern-day slave master to young college-age athletes across the United States just told a young man that instead of accepting the helping hand from a friend in the form of a couch and a few meals, that he should have slept in the gutter and picked through trashcans while lining up outside of soup kitchens rather than try to educate himself and rise above his position in life.
Please allow me a momentary side-track for a minor point of clarity in our modern vocabulary.
Educate is a verb. It means to “give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone, especially a child), typically at a school or university,” per my little googly-searchy-thingy. It has roots in the latin language – educare, educat – which originally meant, “led out.” Essentially, the very word educate means to lead out of some place into another place by means of GIVING intellectual, moral, and social instruction. Somebody do me a favor and send a dictionary to the NCAA, because they have evidently forgotten the whole reason for COLLEGE.
Okay the vocab lesson is out of the way. Now onto the blow-back. NCAA, you can ignore me. I don’t care. It is not going to chafe my tender vittles. But when you have teammates of this young man coming to his aid via Twitter; you’ve got to get on top of this one before it gets bigger than Shawn Oakman.
The 6’9″, 280 pound star defensive end for the Baylor Bears took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
SBNation reports much of the twitter-rage at this article.
In closing, I don’t believe the NCAA “gets” this story. I don’t think they understand it at all. But more importantly, I don’t think the NCAA deserves Silas Nacita. Silas Nacita deserves our respect. He deserves our praise. He deserves a chance to get an education.
The NCAA doesn’t deserve anything it has reaped. It deserves nothing.
To button this up, I quote Silas Nacita from his twitter page: “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Well said, young man. Well said.
Don’t follow me. Follow @Salsa_Nacho instead.