BY Todd Dybas 01:53PM 06/23/2011

Dybas: NCAA warned Huskies, Kentucky about Kanter

The allure of Turkish big man Enes Kanter was powerful enough that Washington and, later, Kentucky, continued pursuit despite the NCAA telling them Kanter was under investigation from the start.

Washington and coach Lorenzo Romar were warned Enes Kanter would have eligibility problems. / Drew Sellers, Sports Press Northwest

Washington and coach Lorenzo Romar were warned Enes Kanter would have eligibility problems. / Drew Sellers, Sports Press Northwest

The NCAA called the University of Washington compliance office shortly after star Turkish recruit Enes Kanter verbally committed to play basketball there for the 2010-11 season to warn them about Kanter’s eligibility issues, Sportspress Northwest has learned.

Stephen Webb, associate director of amateurism certification at NCAA Eligibility Center, called the school about Kanter, one of the top recruits in the country at the time, prior to National Letter of Intent Day in the fall of 2009. The NCAA said it was aware that the Turkish league Kanter played in was mostly or all professional. It was investigating, and asked if Washington was doing the same. At the time, the school was not.

That information was relayed to Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and surprised the school. It was the only time the university had received a call from the NCAA about a recruit’s possible eligibility issues. One call. None prior or since. UW officials confirmed the NCAA’s account but declined to speak on the matter.

Kanter changed his verbal commitment to Kentucky approximately five months later. That prompted the same call to Kentucky. The NCAA phoned the Wildcats to tell them Kanter was under investigation for his play at Fenerbahçe Ülker.

Eventually, Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for receiving $33,033 for playing the 2008-09 season as part of the Turkish pro team. The NCAA deemed Kanter “received a significant amount of money, above his actual expenses, from a professional team prior to coming to college.”

At Thursday’s NBA draft, the 6-foot-11 skilled power forward is expected to be a top five pick.

Kanter’s lost eligibility spawned immediate conspiracy theories predicated on former University of Washington president Mark Emmert being the head man of the NCAA when the final ruling about Kanter’s eligibility was made.

Prominent college basketball voices, none more so than Dick Vitale, made the Tea Party proud by extolling conspiracy, saying Emmert’s decision to rule Kanter ineligible would not have happened if Kanter chose to remain with Washington. Sprinkle in a little Terrence Jones, who also committed to Washington only to change his mind and pick Kentucky, and a simple finger-pointing line of thinking results.

“… if Kanter went to Wash. I believe he would NOT be ineligible 4 4 years -have super 2011!” Vitale tweeted to Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis.

The trouble with that is no one disputes Kanter received money from a professional league, which was the basis for his ineligibility. And Emmert became NCAA president roughly a year after the organization contacted Washington about Kanter’s possible eligibility problems with the rare phone call.

This much is clear: No matter who the NCAA president was at the time of Kanter’s recruitment or suspension, neither Washington nor Kentucky can claim ignorance about the gathering storm around the recruit.

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter,” Emmert told Davis in January. “Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

Also a fact is that the NCAA was inconsistent with its ruling against Kansas’ Josh Selby and Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney, as compared to Kanter. Each were found to have received impermissible benefits, but were allowed to play after repaying the money and serving a suspension.

Washington says it is the first and only time it has been contacted by the NCAA in such a manner. The NCAA says this type of contact is commonplace.

“The purpose is often, as it was here, to begin working collaboratively with the institution on the review as early as possible. The University of Washington was contacted given Mr. Kanter’s verbal commitment at the time and the institution’s inclusion of Mr. Kanter on its Institutional Request List,” an NCAA spokeperson said.

The organization said it contacted Kentucky once Kanter altered his commitment for the same reason.

“Again, the purpose was to begin working collaboratively with the institution on the amateurism review as early as possible,” an NCAA spokesperson said.

Kanter’s eligibility questions are part of the reason the NCAA has increased its international compliance arm. Oversight of foreign-born recruits has grown exponentially the last few years.

Washington has two players with international backgrounds. Aziz N’Diaye, born in Senegal, will be a junior this fall. Martin Breunig, a German national, gave a verbal commitment to play for the school this fall.


YourThoughts

  • BeckP

    Isn’t this story about 6 months too late? In other breaking news, “Scientists have discovered the world in no longer flat”!

  • BeckP

    Isn’t this story about 6 months too late? In other breaking news, “Scientists have discovered the world in no longer flat”!

  • OLD NEWS

    Yawwwnnnn……man…a little on the late side there chief……

  • OLD NEWS

    Yawwwnnnn……man…a little on the late side there chief……

  • http://ukthunder.proboards.com/index.cgi Seymour

    If Emmert knew Kanter was not likely to be cleared to play, while Emmert was at UW, why did Emmert allow the Romar to continue recruiting Kanter?  Why did he not say “Just forget about him”? 

    “The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter,” Emmert told Davis in January. “Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

    Was Emmert shocked as well or is this paragraph simply Emmert’s spin to hide some facts.

  • http://ukthunder.proboards.com/index.cgi Seymour

    If Emmert knew Kanter was not likely to be cleared to play, while Emmert was at UW, why did Emmert allow the Romar to continue recruiting Kanter?  Why did he not say “Just forget about him”? 

    “The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter,” Emmert told Davis in January. “Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

    Was Emmert shocked as well or is this paragraph simply Emmert’s spin to hide some facts.

  • Anonymous

    hmm…the $33 K was over a three year period (14-15-16 year old Enes) and was set aside in an account used for Enes’ education and living expenses…the NCAA stipulated that had the Turkish Club paid those costs directly instead of giving it to Dr. Kanter, then Enes would have been declared eligible…Dr. Kanter also produced detailed records and offered to return the money (similar to what Selby was forced to do) but was refused by the NCAA…nobody questions both UW and UK being “warned” about Enes’ impending investigation (or ongoing), what is questioned is whether the NCAA singled him out (which I believe they did) to serve a punishment that did not fit the crime…and one that could easily be compared to the Selby case… I do feel Emmert had some say in how the eligibility (or lack thereof) played out…in hindsight, the NCAA (after the second semester) indicated that UK would face penalties on their APR if Enes had left school….of course, Enes not only stayed at UK but finished in good academic standing (as his education is important to him and his family…hence the reason for the large $ used for his education that is at the heart of his ban), while Selby meanwhile dropped school and headed to Vegas to workout for the draft (where he was taken in the 2nd round…behind Kanter AND his replacement Josh Harellson–teehee)….the NCAA missed this one…unless it was their intent to deter top-flight, NBA ready foreign players from coming to the US to play as some favor to the NBA and their goal of international “branding”…Kanter goes to school for a year and still goes top-3…good  for him and shame on the NCAA…would have been nice to see him play in blue

  • DavidBalll

    hmm…the $33 K was over a three year period (14-15-16 year old Enes) and was set aside in an account used for Enes’ education and living expenses…the NCAA stipulated that had the Turkish Club paid those costs directly instead of giving it to Dr. Kanter, then Enes would have been declared eligible…Dr. Kanter also produced detailed records and offered to return the money (similar to what Selby was forced to do) but was refused by the NCAA…nobody questions both UW and UK being “warned” about Enes’ impending investigation (or ongoing), what is questioned is whether the NCAA singled him out (which I believe they did) to serve a punishment that did not fit the crime…and one that could easily be compared to the Selby case… I do feel Emmert had some say in how the eligibility (or lack thereof) played out…in hindsight, the NCAA (after the second semester) indicated that UK would face penalties on their APR if Enes had left school….of course, Enes not only stayed at UK but finished in good academic standing (as his education is important to him and his family…hence the reason for the large $ used for his education that is at the heart of his ban), while Selby meanwhile dropped school and headed to Vegas to workout for the draft (where he was taken in the 2nd round…behind Kanter AND his replacement Josh Harellson–teehee)….the NCAA missed this one…unless it was their intent to deter top-flight, NBA ready foreign players from coming to the US to play as some favor to the NBA and their goal of international “branding”…Kanter goes to school for a year and still goes top-3…good  for him and shame on the NCAA…would have been nice to see him play in blue

  • SleehraT

    As President of UW at the time, why did Emmert allow Romar to take his commitment if it was so clear cut that there were issues?  The Selby and Sidney situations – along with the recalcitrance that surrounds KNOWING that OSU was going to play ineligible players in the Sugar Bowl are but three recent instances that show the NCAA to be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.  Did Emmert ever change his FB picture with OSU garb on during a tailgate?  He and the organization he leads is an antiquated joke.

    • Eric K

      Why not, there is no risk to let him verbally commit and then waiting to see if he can be ruled eligible, until he actually plays for you no penalty has been committed

      • SleehraT

        I see.  Do you think that Kanter would have been ruled ineligible for UW after Emmert left UW for the crooked organization on which he sits atop?  Of course not.  The consistency that the NCAA uses to make judgments is a joke.

  • SleehraT

    As President of UW at the time, why did Emmert allow Romar to take his commitment if it was so clear cut that there were issues?  The Selby and Sidney situations – along with the recalcitrance that surrounds KNOWING that OSU was going to play ineligible players in the Sugar Bowl are but three recent instances that show the NCAA to be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.  Did Emmert ever change his FB picture with OSU garb on during a tailgate?  He and the organization he leads is an antiquated joke.

    • Eric K

      Why not, there is no risk to let him verbally commit and then waiting to see if he can be ruled eligible, until he actually plays for you no penalty has been committed

      • SleehraT

        I see.  Do you think that Kanter would have been ruled ineligible for UW after Emmert left UW for the crooked organization on which he sits atop?  Of course not.  The consistency that the NCAA uses to make judgments is a joke.

  • Pete Taylor

    If 33 thousand makes a player a professional then the salaries of the very unprofessional NCAA heads are far too high.

  • Pete Taylor

    If 33 thousand makes a player a professional then the salaries of the very unprofessional NCAA heads are far too high.

  • Racerfrog

    How much do the PIMPS at the ncaa make????? How much do the tickets cost to go to these games????? I would think this is slavery at it’s finest…No pay for employees except the suit and ties….. Wake up and get rid of the pimps…..

  • Racerfrog

    How much do the PIMPS at the ncaa make????? How much do the tickets cost to go to these games????? I would think this is slavery at it’s finest…No pay for employees except the suit and ties….. Wake up and get rid of the pimps…..

  • doublesecretprobation

    Was there a second shooter behind the grassy knoll?

  • doublesecretprobation

    Was there a second shooter behind the grassy knoll?

  • JPS

    One thing you failed to mention is that at the time (Fall 2009) you say the NCAA contacted Washington about Kanter playing with professionals, it was still something that resulted in penalties for the student.  However soon afterwards Proposal 2009-22 was approved which dramatically reduced (if not eliminated) these types of penalties for an amateur to simply play with or against professional players. (as Kanter did)
    In other words, the rules literally changed between the time and NCAA first contacted Washington and when Kanter was at Kentucky.

  • JPS

    One thing you failed to mention is that at the time (Fall 2009) you say the NCAA contacted Washington about Kanter playing with professionals, it was still something that resulted in penalties for the student.  However soon afterwards Proposal 2009-22 was approved which dramatically reduced (if not eliminated) these types of penalties for an amateur to simply play with or against professional players. (as Kanter did)
    In other words, the rules literally changed between the time and NCAA first contacted Washington and when Kanter was at Kentucky.