Jeremiah Masoli does not come across to me as a bad guy. I do not believe that he will screw up again, and I certainly believe that the situation resulting in his arrest of that laptop and the Marijuana charges should not be the end of his Football Career. The crazy thing is: it isn't. It amuses me, to an extent, that Ole Miss fans are so enraged over this whole situation. Let's take a step back and examine just what is going on here, gang: Jeremiah Masoli was dismissed from his team after receiving a possession charge while suspended from his team. He then searched around for the best school that would take him based on a rule that allows players to switch to other graduate programs. He did not want to go to Ole Miss at any point during the last College Football season. I can guarantee that.
The arguments defending him are fairly funny too. I'll begin with the first, and perhaps the most valid one: Kenneth Cooper. Cooper was a player on the La. Tech Basketball team last season and averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds through the first 15 games, when he was then dismissed from the team by the coach. He finished up his degree and got a waiver to play immediately as a Graduate-Transfer at UAB. Ole Miss fans argue that this injustifies the NCAA's ruling on Masoli, asking "How is this not the same situation as Masoli is in right now?" Well allow me to retort: Kenneth Cooper played for La Tech, not a national title contender. All of 15 people on blogs across America knew who Kenneth Cooper was before yesterday. Kenneth Cooper was dismissed not even halfway through the season, a full two months before the end of it. Kenneth Cooper was also granted release to play before, as the article is dated, October 14th of 2009. But this is 2010.
Further, Ole Miss fans argue that the NCAA got it wrong because of this case, but that goes under the premise that they got it right for Cooper. Did they? I'm certainly not so sure, but in any event there is the rational of a precedent: that the NCAA worries that if they grant one high-profile athlete a waiver to skip the disciplinary consequences of, at the least, several very poor choices and at the worst felony theft, then others will have the precedent of Masoli's case to justify their own actions.
Then there's the "Loophole" argument. Some Ole Miss fans argue that, because Masoli so cleverly found a loophole for his situation, he can't be punished for it. "He followed the rule!" they'll exclaim. They do not, apparently, understand the thought of intent which the NCAA is entirely justified in using as a complete rebuttal considering they wrote the rule. I was planning on typing up my own response to this, but I came across a good summation, I think, of Ole Miss's Fans and an excellent rebuttal on the thread over at EDSBS.
First, Ivory Tower: (Fulmerizations my own)
We're only naturally venting frustration at the NCAA's general bull[FULMER]ery
because it’s hampering our mojo today. This decision (like many high-profile decisions made by the NCAA) is wholly unrelated to protecting the antiquated notion of the student athlete. The NCAA has lost the battle of keeping college football an amateur sport. Now they are just throwing stones at the monolith, hoping to salvage their reputation.
Ole Miss fans don’t [FULMERIZE] about the NCAA’s hypocrisy every day. But today, it’s put a bit of a damper on our spirits. The rules can be the rules, but it’s frustrating when the rules (or at least conventional application thereof) are bent to your disfavor to serve a purpose which I’m not sure anyone can articulate. Bluntly, “What good does this decision serve?”
To which Giant Catfish gave this response:
"What good does this decision serve?"
I take no issue with complaining about the rules, or the application of rules. As “citizens” under the NCAA “government”, you have every right to complain about the technical side of this issue.
However, what Ole Miss and Masoli were trying to do was the equivalent of tax fraud by loophole. Sure, the loophole is there, but if it’s arbitrarily closed, you can’t act like someone is out to get you, or you’re the poor trodden underdog. It was naked circumventing of rules, and any suggestion otherwise is lunacy.
Ole Miss has even fewer legs to stand on with your point of “what good does this decision serve?” This decision is the right one, and even more so, the fair one. If a kid does all the right things, never runs afoul of the law, does well in school, and all the rest…but just gets homesick, he can’t transfer back home without sitting out a year. In what universe would it be fair for a player who committed a serious crime (felony or no), and was kicked off his old team, to play the next year with seemingly no penalty? What is the message there?
“Hey, kid, wanna transfer but don’t wanna sit? Just get blazed, steal some crap and get yourself kicked off the team. You’re a shoe-in for a waiver then.”
The purpose of this waiver is obvious. Equally as obvious is that Masoli’s transfer was not what this is intended for.