One of the biggest stories of the NCAA tournament thus far was the suspension of Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels, who was found to have accepted $200 from his former AAU coach Curtis Malone.
The decision by Kansas State to hold Samuels out of Saturday’s game, a 75-59 loss to top-seed Syracuse in Pittsburgh, didn’t sit well with many and head coach Frank Martin was emotional in speaking about his senior during the post-game press conference.
Athletic director John Currie, who had no comment on the situation on Saturday, wrote a letter to the Kansas State faithful that can be found on the school’s website explaining the decision to sit Samuels.
The biggest issue for Kansas State in the process of deciding whether or not to play Samuels was the possible repercussions of knowingly playing an ineligible player. Currie wrote:
There are serious repercussions for an institution that knowingly plays a student-athlete who is potentially ineligible. These potential repercussions include forfeiture of contests, a “major” violation charge, and even charges of unethical conduct and failure to maintain an atmosphere of compliance, as well as institutional probation and other sanctions.
Regardless of the dollar amount in question and how small it may have been (in the history of athletes taking impermissible benefits one would think that $200 was a small figure), Kansas State could ill-afford to take the risk.
Also noted in the letter is that Kansas State was hard at work with the NCAA to get Samuels eligible while the game was in progress, only to find out that the NCAA would not clear him for Saturday’s game in the first half.
Fans and media alike wanted to hear something from Currie in regards to the process, and while this may have taken longer than hoped the athletic director has finally spoken.
Photo Credit: Kansas City Star (Jamie Green)