Like every Kentucky fan, I am happy that the NCAA chose to reinstate Morris and to reduce his penalty to 14 games. However the decision today just re-emphasized what most have always assumed, the NCAA is a joke.
There is absolutely no way that the NCAA could have handled this that would have been worse. The NCAA makes a decision that Morris had an “implicit agreement” with SFX to become his agent. So what to do with this info? To me, there are two options. Either ban him for good or allow him to play with a similar penalty to others who have had agent relationships that went against the rules, leaving him out a semester. Instead, the NCAA chooses unprincipled option 3, allowing him to come back, but sit out an entire season, thus giving him a draconian punishment that has no precedent in past action.
UK fans and the program were understandably upset. They vow to appeal. In the interim, the NCAA body who originally heard the case changes their mind prior to the appeal, citing “new evidence” that it had not heard before. I find that highly suspect, if not an outright lie. THe Morris saga has been played out for MONTHS, and you are saying that something new came to light in the last week? Give me strength….
No what happened is either (a) the NCAA caved and realized that it was giving a very harsh punishment to one of its most visible programs and changed its mind, (b) realized it made a decision by ignoring certain facts and thus was forced to change its mind before getting embarrassed on appeal or (c) was just inept. Either of those three answers could be true, but all are not based on principle or reason but are based on other, irrelevant factors….things the NCAA prides itself in always taking into account. What we end up with is a situation where it looks as if UK or the NCAA is shady and that Morris will be eligible when he should not be….all because the NCAA screwed up the process from the get go.
I honestly could have understood if the NCAA never allowed Morris to play again. I also would have been sympathetic to the punishment now given if it had been the original decision by the NCAA. But the ridiculous and cowardly way that the NCAA went about the decision, by ruling with an iron fist and then reversing course almost immediately, is just another feather in the cap of absurdity that is the NCAA.