Say No to Masoli

Eni Faleomavega, the delegate to the US Congress for Samoa, has written a letter decrying the decision the NCAA handed down on the Jeremiah Masoli case “arbitrary and unfair.”  He has also called the ruling “grossly inappropriate.”

For those unfamiliar with Jeremiah Masoli, here is a little background. He was the quarterback of the Oregon team that won the Rose Bowl last year.  Through a loophole in the system, the senior quarterback transferred to Ole Miss, where he could attain his Masters Degree in a course that Oregon didn’t offer and also use up one more year of eligibility.  Masoli chose to take advantage of that loophole and wanted to get his Masters in Parks & Recreation.  How convenient that Ole Miss also has a football program in the SEC, one of the premier conferences in the country! In a press release, the NCAA said Masoli’s request violated the intent of the waiver: “The waiver exists to provide relief to student-athletes who transfer for academic reasons to pursue graduate studies, not to avoid disciplinary measures at the previous university.  This is the NCAA background of the case.

 Let me tell you a bit about Masoli. He actually transferred after being kicked off of the Oregon team, after being arrested twice.  In January of 2010, he pleaded guilty to burglary at a fraternity house and in June was cited for a misdemeanor marijuana charge. It is clear that Masoli is not exactly an outstanding member of society.  The marijuana charge is no big deal considering it will most likely be decriminalized within the next two years.  Burglary, however, in some states is a capital felony punishable by life in prison.  But Masoli took a deal to avoid prison time and now he is trying to play football at an academic institution? This is what I would call grossly inappropriate.

 Usually, I come down hard on the NCAA for being a monopoly.  They only care about themselves and how much money they can make off of its employees (read: “student-athletes”).  But in this instance the NCAA has gotten it right.  Masoli clearly transferred to avoid missing a season after being kicked off of the Oregon football team (credit Oregon coach Chip Kelly). In the same breath I have to say shame on Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt! Has he no shame? Will he field a team of felons just to rack up a few wins? Shame on Eni Faleomavega! How can people say with a straight face that this kid deserves another chance, when it is so very clear he is trying to take advantage of they system?

 Kudos to the NCAA for not allowing Masoli (a Heisman candidate) another season.  Yes, America is the Land of Opportunity and the Land of Second Chances. But at some point people need to be held responsible for their actions.  If the kid wants to stay and pursue his education at Ole Miss, all the credit to him.  But do not allow him on the football field, where he is clearly using the school as a showcase to get to the NFL.  He lost that privilege when he decided to take part in stealing laptops at that fraternity house.

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