After much of the internet was up in arms regarding the status of Colgate freshman Nathan Harries, the NCAA has reversed its original decision to strip Harries of a season of eligibility.
Harries was originally expected to lose that year based on the fact that following his two-year LDS mission he played three games in a church league that consisted primarily of players 30 years of age or older. Normally in such instances the school (Colgate) and student-athlete can appeal the decision, but Harries’ case didn’t even reach the appeals portion of the process.
In a story written by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports, Nathan’s father expressed both his satisfaction with the NCAA’s change of heart and his hope for the future enforcement of the rule that landed Nathan in “hot water” to begin with.
“I’m just hopeful the NCAA revisits this rule and refines it or takes a more common-sense approach so this doesn’t happen again,” the elder Harries said.
That’s the issue regarding cases like these. Many involved with college athletics, from the participants to the fans and media, really don’t have much of a clue as to why the NCAA makes such rulings to begin with. While it’s easy to point out the existence of a rule, more transparency would help all involved in the understanding of the process.
Because until that happens we’ll be dealing with the same cycle: NCAA makes controversial decision that fires up the masses, who react negatively and ultimately the governing body changes course due in part to external pressure. Collegiate athletics shouldn’t be run in that “fashion” and if situations like the one involving Harries can change that, then the NCAA would be better for it.