MORGANTOWN — It’s an unlucky state of affairs RaeQuan Battle finds himself in at present, because the WVU guard is just a bit greater than 24 hours in coping with being informed by the NCAA he won’t be eligible to play school basketball this season.
WVU is interesting that call to the NCAA Committee for Legislative Aid, however for many who could also be holding out hope the choice shall be reversed, please don’t gamble good cash on it.
The entire above is just the lead, a abstract of types that by no means comes near encapsulating the whole lot of Battle’s case or who he’s.
We’ll attempt to accomplish that the remainder of the best way right here, however in doing so, the state of affairs with the NCAA waiver course of can’t merely be ignored.
To checklist all that ills the NCAA as a governing group would take up manner an excessive amount of area.
Normally, why the NCAA takes one public relations hit after one other — and WVU followers have been busy on social media blasting the NCAA since Battle’s waiver was denied — is as a result of it has spent many years being dangerously imprecise on necessary points.
What does that imply?
Effectively, the official NCAA rulebook is a whole bunch and a whole bunch of pages that cowl each conceivable subject from recruiting durations to drug testing to observe time to tools used all the best way right down to the sorts of meals that may be served to student-athletes at dinner.
A few of these subjects — the quite inane ones normally — shall be lined with subheads and subheads to the subhead of the unique rule to ensure all bases have been lined.
But relating to the quite juicy subjects, very like switch waivers, but additionally issues coping with suspensions and penalties for recruiting violations — we see you Invoice Self — the NCAA’s handbook isn’t fairly as thorough.
Moderately than spelling every part out, the NCAA leaves the majority of the work as much as committees to make their very own interpretations and judgments on a case-by-case foundation.
Which is the place we come again to Battle.
Again in March, the NCAA despatched out a memo to all of its Division I colleges signifying a stand the group was going to take towards student-athletes transferring greater than as soon as whereas nonetheless an undergraduate.
Battle is precisely that. He’s already performed at Washington and Montana State. WVU is his third faculty and he’s but to earn a university diploma.
On the floor, the NCAA ought to truly be applauded for taking such a stance.
Tales such of that of former WVU participant Teddy Allen, who enrolled at 5 completely different colleges throughout his school profession, have been nothing however a mockery of what the faculty expertise must be.
Within the NCAA’s memo, it outlined sure exceptions that have been accessible to safe a waiver, together with, “For causes associated to the student-athlete’s bodily or psychological well-being.”
The issue is that assertion is about as imprecise because it will get. There have been 2,000 males’s basketball gamers within the switch portal this summer season and it’s real looking all of them may have claimed that with the ability to proceed to play basketball was of their finest curiosity when it comes to their bodily or psychological well-being.
However let’s get again to Battle, who has overcome an unlimited quantity of adversity and private loss in his life to get to the place he’s at present.
“I’ve touched on his story just a little bit, and I don’t must get into it now, however basketball is one thing he wants on a day-to-day foundation, and he wants that construction and accountability every day to maintain his head on straight, so to talk,” WVU interim head coach Josh Eilert stated just a few weeks in the past.
Battle is an American Indian, a local of the Tulalip Tribe in Washington, about 40 miles north of Seattle.
He isn’t just a task mannequin for changing into the primary particular person of his tribe to earn a Division I basketball scholarship, however he’s seen as a hero to his individuals.
And his story will not be one with out heartache.
In 2013, when Battle was nonetheless in center faculty, his cousin, who was raised proper alongside Battle and his 4 brothers, dedicated suicide.
A yr later, there was a mass taking pictures at Marysville-Pilchuck Excessive — the college Battle attended — through which 5 individuals have been killed, together with the shooter. Battle was associated to the shooter.
If there’s any case in America the place persevering with to play sports activities is significant for a student-athlete’s bodily or psychological well-being, it’s certainly RaeQuan Battle’s.
“There was a variety of, ‘I simply wish to lay right here and watch TV and eat vacation meals,’” Battle’s mom Jacqueline Williams informed The Seattle Occasions in 2018. “I needed to make him rise up; we’re not going to remain caught. We have now to maintain it transferring.”
If not Battle, then who precisely would the NCAA approve below this guideline? That’s a particularly necessary query at present that has no reply.
As said earlier, Battle’s case is now within the arms of the NCAA Committee for Legislative Aid. And that is the place the NCAA’s vagueness turns into harmful.
The Committee for Legislative Aid is a board of seven members, all of them being both a compliance officer, an athletic director or an affiliate commissioner representing seven completely different Division I conferences, together with the Large 12.
They don’t seem to be mental-health specialists, nor are they psychologists, but the NCAA is so fast to shuffle instances like Battle’s to them, whereas asking that committee to make a last resolution on whether or not or not a student-athlete must be allowed to play or pressured to take a seat primarily based on one’s psychological well being.
It might be like asking Invoice Gates to chair the NCAA event choice committee, a novel thought solely if you wish to dwell in a world the place Ivy League colleges bought all the No. 1 seeds.
That board might be no higher certified to evaluate Battle’s bodily and psychological well-being than you or I’d be.
Which brings us to the ultimate thought, which is to say what the NCAA wrote in that memo again in March is a bunch of you-know-what.
You’ll be able to’t lay out imprecise pointers for permitting a second switch after which deny somebody who is probably going a textbook instance of somebody assembly stated pointers.
When that occurs, properly, now you see why the NCAA is a public relations nightmare within the first place.