Now that the unfortunate decision has been rendered in the Enes Kanter case, the team has to move on and prepare for a season without the Turkish big man who can be unstoppable on the block. All parties are proceeding with the assumption that he wont play, but that doesnt mean the process is completely over. Enes Kanter and UK will appeal the decision, with the appeal filed by the end of November. The process for the appeal is different and hasnt been well understood in the press, and thus is worth a quick look:
1. In the legal world, an appeal is often incorrectly thought of by the public as a retrial of facts. This isnt true. When someone is convicted of a crime or loses a trial, the facts decided by the jury are not reheard on appeal…rather the question is whether any errors of law were made in the process. An NCAA appeal is slightly different. First, the entity that hears the appeal is a completely separate group that has a different job description than the original NCAA decision maker. The appeals group is made of administrators from member institutions (at one point Lee Todd was on the group) and is not a set of NCAA Employees. Thus the standards used are often different and the decisions can diverge from the NCAA’s thoughts.
2. Unlike in the law, the NCAA appeals process considers equities beyond the sheer rule and its written application. While the facts found by the NCAA will not be changed, in this case the facts arent in question…both the NCAA and UK agree as to the amount of money and what it was spent upon. The Appeals group will look at the money and consider if the strict interpretion of the rule is correctly applied in this case.
3. As part of that process, Kanter will be able to speak to the appeals committee, something that didnt occur the first time around. The group can determine if the $20,000 spent on educational expenses should factor into the overall judgment and if the rule should be interpreted to allow Kanter to pay back the money and play. Thus it isnt a strict “legal” appeal, but also the specifics of the situation can be considered and whether the NCAA’s decision should be changed due to facts specific to Kanter.
In short, whereas a legal appeal is one strictly based on the law and legal errors, an NCAA appeal can consider the equities of fairness in the case. UK’s hope will be that this slight difference will favor Kanter’s appeal, and help put the big Enes back on the court.
We dove into this a bit today on the radio with Andy Katz of ESPN and you can hear his explanation below, as well as mine: