In what was a story that went under the radar nationally last week, Montana State center Mohamed Fall was notified by the NCAA that he wouldn’t be able to play his senior season at MSU.
The reason why: Fall played in a pair of showcase exhibition games, and with his turning 21 before enrolling at Montana State those games constitute a season of eligibility.
Fall played two seasons at Cloud County Community College before enrolling at Montana State, and according to the school he will seek playing opportunities at a lower level.
“I really liked playing at Montana State and enjoyed the university and the community,” Fall said, “Everyone treated me so well and I really appreciated the opportunity to be here.
From a playing standpoint I was very excited about next year’s team and from a personal standpoint I needed my second season here to reach my full potential.
But I really feel like I improved as a player and the coaches here really helped me and I will miss them, my teammates, MSU, and Bozeman.”
Is this a case of the NCAA striking again?
That’s indeed the case according to Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball, who notes in his piece that if the NCAA really wants to send a message in a logical manner they should just suspend him for a few games.
And while this isn’t a similar example there could be precedent for how the NCAA should deal with this.
Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis was allowed to play in more exhibition games than he should have been by the school in what would be a redshirt season (2008-09), and the punishment handed down was a four-game suspension last fall.
Fall played in a pair of showcase games in hopes of earning a scholarship and he accomplished that.
Is such an action, especially when the player isn’t aware of what the ramifications could be, worthy of a season-long suspension?
Hopefully there’s an appeal process for Fall because the numbers simply don’t add up here.
And for the players and parents who may take part in showcase games heading into the summer in hopes of earning a scholarship, be sure to check the rules beforehand.
h/t to @bigskybball