Just hours before NC State took the floor in the season-opener against UNC-Asheville, the school announced that sophomore forward CJ Leslie would be suspended for first three games.
The suspension is the result of $410 worth of impermissible benefits that Leslie and a relative received. The NCAA declared Leslie ineligible, but he will be reinstated if he donates $410 to charity and sits out these three games.
What did Leslie do that was so bad? He had a fellow student front him $260 so his brother could pay an application fee for an apartment. While I don’t necessarily agree that act should result in a suspension, its at least understandable that it would draw a suspicious eye from the NCAA. The other $150 in impermissible benefits? Leslie borrowed a car from a fellow student for a week after he got in an accident. The $150 is what the NCAA determined it would have cost to rent a car for a week.
That’s a violation now, too?
Granted, I don’t know the whole story. Maybe the car he “borrowed” was a brand new Ferrari, which makes this a different story. But if Leslie was truly using a friend’s car to get around, that should not merit a suspension. What’s next, getting suspended for bumming a ride from a neighbor to campus? Having a friend spot you four dollars at Taco Bell because you forgot your wallet? Watching football on Sundays in someone else’s apartment because they have NFL Redzone and you don’t?
Sometimes it seems like the people that make the rules at the NCAA never actually went to college. One of the most important things you do when you are a freshman is to figure out which kids have a car. Then you make it a point to befriend them just in case you ever need a ride.
Impermissible benefits exist because the NCAA wants to keep the idea of amateurism in college sports intact. They want the athletes to be like any other student.
But if everything is an impermissible benefit, the players are just getting more and more isolated and alienated.
Leslie wasn’t the only player suspended on Friday.
Marquette freshman Juan Anderson will miss the first three games of the season as well. He accepted a ticket to a Brewers playoff game. Its unclear where the ticket came from, but it wasn’t from a parent or legal guardian.
You can’t do that. And Anderson learned the hard way.
“My college eligibility is much too valuable for me to risk,” Anderson said. “I should have been more aware, but I have learned from my mistake.”
He sat out last night’s opener against Mt. St. Mary’s. Anderson has made some headlines in the preseason with his play. He’s expected to be Marquette’s next great combo-forward, following in the footsteps of Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder.
Georgia Tech junior Glen Rice Jr. was also suspended three games. His punishment came from within, however, as Brian Gregory opted to hold him out following a violation of team rules.