Thursday, March 1, 2012

#LetDelvonPlay: Can the NCAA make the right decision this time?

Its infuriating how often I find myself saying, "the NCAA just doesn't get it."

Exhibit No. 6,534: Delvon Roe.

Back in September, the one-time sure-fire NBA first-rounder called it a career due to degenerative knee pain that simply made playing basketball no fun. And while this disappointment in the press conference announcing this decision was palpable -- Roe was as good of a kid as he was a hooper, a blue-collar enforcer that played the game hard for every second his body allowed him to -- to his credit, Roe didn't pout.

He discovered that he had a talent for acting. I'm sure that he would love to still be playing basketball, but Roe's story makes him all the more human. Like so many of us, he went to college with a dream and discovered he has a passion for something completely different. There is nothing wrong with that.

What Tom Izzo had planned to do was bring Roe back for what would have been his senior night on Saturday. You know, something nice to honor a member of the program; a chance for the fans to truly show their appreciation for the way he played. Well, that is until the Spartans had to worry about the NCAA's rules:

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Friday he wanted retired forward Delvon Roe to play against Ohio State in a nostalgic return to the court on Senior Day, but the school has determined that NCAA eligibility rules will not allow for Roe to dress for the game.

Even a brief appearance in one final college game at Breslin Center would have been quite a moment for the 6-foot-8 Roe, who cited degenerative knee pain in announcing his retirement from basketball in September before the start of what would have been his senior season.

Roe, who attends home games and the occasional practice, has begun a professional acting career that appears to restrict him from playing because of amateurism rules, Izzo indicated. Ineligible players also cannot suit up for games.

"I think he deserved it," Izzo said of the idea that Roe would play March 4. "I’m sure I would have done it because I appreciate the kid, but we can’t do it."
The rule is clear cut. Players are not allowed to profit off of their likeness. That means they aren't allowed to act, because if they were allowed to act, they would be able to act in commercials. And since being an NCAA athlete means that you cannot be endorsed by anyone, they cannot act in commercials.

Blah, blah, blah.

Look, if the NCAA doesn't want to allow athletes to act or do commercials or profit off of their ability, fine. I'll disagree with them vehemently, but its not something that's going to change anytime soon. There's no use getting upset about it.

But this is one of those instances where one of those suits that makes seven figures off of money generated by people like Delvon Roe -- athletes that push their bodies until they breakdown without seeing a dime because they love the sport -- needs to step in and make an exception.

Roe wouldn't play many minutes. He's not going to have an impact on the game. Michigan State simply wants to get him on the court one last time, to honor him and give him a chance to say goodbye. I guarantee that Ohio State would support this decision.

Here's to hoping that the NCAA does the right thing: #LetDelvonPlay.

No comments: