Kevin Short, KU football latest victims of NCAA ineptitude


Friday, for the second year in a row, the NCAA declared a member of the Kansas University football team ineligible to play a single down for the Jayhawks because of circumstances outside of football.

And, for the second year in a row, common sense failed to prevail. Anyone noticing that this is becoming quite a pattern with the NCAA?

KU coach Charlie Weis announced Friday morning that cornerback Kevin Short, a transfer from Fort Scott Community College, had been ruled ineligible for the 2013 season because the NCAA deemed that Short's first season at Kansas would be best spent solidifying his academic standing. Next time, they might as well just call Paul Buskirk, KU's associate athletic director for student support, arrange a meeting and kick him in the groin.

Declaring Short ineligible not only takes away the young man's opportunity to play football — a dream for which Short worked his butt off this summer to make a reality — but it also sends a message to Kansas that the NCAA does not believe those in charge of admissions know what they're doing.

Hogwash. You won't find a school anywhere on the planet that has an athletic department, a football coach and a man like Buskirk that is as dedicated to the academic success of their students.

Weis clearly agrees. In a statement released to the media Friday morning, he expressed his frustration over the matter that comes just a year after the NCAA rejected Justin McCay's appeal for immediate eligibility due to personal hardships too private to mention publicly.

“Kevin's junior college transcript was better than most and indicated no reason to expect anything other than academic success,” Weis said in the release. “...We asked the NCAA representatives to allow Kevin to speak to them so he could show them how he had overcome adversity in life to become a proud new student, but they rejected that request. We are extremely disappointed with this decision.”

Who could blame them? This reeks of more hypocrisy from the NCAA office and, perhaps worse, continues to promote the image of inconsistency that now governs college athletics. Think about it: The powers that be at the NCAA essentially are telling Short and KU that the young man can do everything the rest of his teammates can except play in a three-hour game every Saturday. Gotcha. I'm sure freeing up those hours will really help Short's pursuit of a degree. What a joke.

Knowing Weis and what academics mean to him, he won't let it be a joke. Because the situation is what it is and there's nothing they can do about it, Short probably will be held out of certain football obligations in order to spend more time with the tutors.

The bummer of it all is Short does not need that. Sure, he worked overtime this summer to gain the necessary grades and hours to be able to transfer — evidently, hard work is now red-flagged — but he more than met the requirements needed for admission to KU. He came to Lawrence with a grade-point average well above the 2.5 requirement and also had nearly a semester's worth of additional transferable hours than he needed.

Short's absence will hurt the Jayhawks. He had starter written all over him and, just over a week ago, Weis called him one of the most talented players on the roster. However, since he arrived late and had not yet played a game, the result should not cripple the product on the field.

But football is only part of the reason Weis and company are disappointed by the NCAA's unwillingness to work with yet another Jayhawk who deserved a break. Weis hurts for Short and the message this ruling sends him and all of that hard work he put in this summer.

"Although I am disappointed for our team, I am much more concerned for Kevin personally,” Weis said. “We discussed the situation with Kevin today and although it was tough to explain the rationale of the NCAA, we are moving forward turning this into a red-shirt year focusing on academics."

This whole thing will probably end well for Short. He gets the extra year of college that not only will help him secure a degree but also will better prepare him for a potential pro career and he still has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

The NCAA is not so lucky, as it has added another chapter of ineptitude to its rapidly deteriorating resume. This chapter may not be one that the rest of the nation cares much about, but when it's bound together with stacks of others like it, it will be part of a powerful how-not-to book for leadership: Governing for Dummies. When is enough enough?


Kman_blue 9 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately this has the stink of something more than just hypocrisy.

Complete and utter incompetence or corruption (like abuse of power) can only explain this BS.

John Fryback 9 years, 2 months ago

Jalen Saunders at OU. I hope KU smokes their cheating' ass'!

Eric Williams 9 years, 2 months ago

Anyone else think McCay's ruling would have been different if Weis and McCay didn't take the high road and "leaked" the story to the media? It's odd that when the schools do what they're asked, they get punished.

When the schools take to the media and put a full blitz on the NCAA, the NCAA shrinks under the pressure of public opinion.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 2 months ago

Great article Matt; this case must be an anomaly as I have never heard such a thing. As stated, he can practice but he's not allowed to play in games.

Have not heard this situation arise ever before.

Have you?

hawk316 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree! Matt, way to articulate the apparent absurdity of this latest ruling by the NCAA.

" was tough to explain the rationale..." I'll say.

Kevin, may God fill you with a fierce determination to turn this setback into a positive.

John Fitzgerald 9 years, 2 months ago

We don't see many "irritated" articles by Mr. Tait, mainly because he's a rational type of person, but if this is something that agitated him, I'm in full belief that it was a bad move by the NCAA. If you notice this stuff doesn't happen to big time schools that bring in big bucks to the NCAA. It reminds me of the Ivy League schools that pride themselves not on the students they let in, but the students they deny into their programs. The NCAA has to fill a certain amount of discipline into the season, and unfortunately the teams that aren't highly touted or competing for a championship get housed. Ivy League schools deny students that may have the exact qualifications and possibly more than the students that did get in. They just don't know the right people or they're family isn't high enough on the booster club committee. Kansas isn't important enough to the NCAA in football, and unfortunately for us that's exactly why these things happen to us. Going back to my Ivy League comparison, if those schools let in any eligible prospect it makes them look easy. And If the NCAA lets all questionable scenarios go through unscathed even when they are solidified, then it makes them look soft. So, in order to even it out, the Ivy League schools deny the unpopular choice regardless of qualifications, and the NCAA hammers on the schools that don't matter as much in the money market. It's a sad deal, but the only way to beat the game is to play the game. Winning games is what it takes. I just hope this adds more fire to the team and we understand the only way to win this battle is to win every battle every week. RCJH and I'm confident we can overcome this adversity.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 2 months ago

The thing is, it happened a couple of years ago to our men's basketball team, too. And that team IS very high profile.

Brad Hall 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't even understand how they can do it. He met the NCAA requirements. There shouldn't be any subjective in this at all.

Kip_McSmithers 9 years, 2 months ago

From NCAA website: "The NCAA requires Divisions I and II student-athletes to make appropriate annual progress toward earning their degrees. This progress is measured in several slightly different ways in the two divisions, including credits earned toward a degree and minimum grade-point average requirements.When Division I or II student-athletes fall short of these academic requirements, an institution can pursue a “progress-toward-degree” waiver to restore eligibility for competition. To qualify for such a waiver, institutions must document the mitigating circumstances that caused the deficiency. A common circumstance is a student-athlete facing a serious medical issue or other personal hardship.

Most of these waiver requests are assigned to a staff member at the NCAA national office.

Staff members can approve, deny or conditionally approve a waiver request. The conditional approval means a student-athlete must meet certain requirements to remain eligible. An institution must demonstrate how the condition was met; if the student-athlete fails to meet the condition, the decision reverts to denial.

A Division III student-athlete must be in good academic standing and meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements at his or her institution. In addition, NCAA rules require Division III student-athletes to enroll in no less than 12 credit-hours per term to compete in athletics. A Division III institution that wishes to pursue a waiver of the 12-credit enrollment requirement for a student-athlete must document the mitigating circumstances for why the request should be granted.

Institutions may appeal staff decisions to the Division I Progress-Toward-Degree Waiver Committee, the Division II Academic Requirements Committee’s Subcommittee on Progress-Toward-Degree Waivers or the Division III Management Council's Academic Issues Subcommittee. Appeals are heard via teleconference. Members of both committees are administrators and faculty from NCAA schools.

Those membership groups have the same outcome options as the staff: approve, deny or conditionally approve. In Divisions I and II, their decisions are final. In Division III institutions may appeal to the management council which makes the final decision."

Division I Progress-Toward-Degree Committee Jody Sykes, Louisville (chair)

Dawn Martinez, New Mexico

Daniel McCarthy, South Alabama

Chris Helms, Virginia Tech

Scott Lazenby, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jesse James, Tennessee State

Thomas Cody, Western Illinois

Elizabeth D. Dore, Radford

Matt Tait 9 years, 2 months ago

Great info, Kip, but don't get your hopes up. There will be no waiver granted here and KU is moving on and accepting the ruling.

Kip_McSmithers 9 years, 2 months ago

Matt, do you think maybe these are grounds the NCAA is using to sit Kevin?

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

"Short ... came to Lawrence with a grade-point average well above the 2.5 requirement and also had nearly a semester's worth of additional transferable hours than he needed", but still had to "worked overtime this summer to gain the necessary grades and hours to be able to transfer"?

Something doesn't add up. It seems to me that maybe the classes taken weren't the right ones to graduate (bad advising?) so he had to cram a bunch into the summer - maybe more than 9?

**NOTE – Summer School Limitation!! Students entering a Division I college may not earn more than 18 semester units of transferable coursework during the summer and only 9 semester units of transferable degree credit may be earned during the summer immediately before transfer.

Could it be that the NCAA actually is following standard rules? Hard to believe I know, but maybe there is more to the story than what is being publicly presented.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 2 months ago

Good news: Johnny Manziel didn't lose the ability to be on tv every weekend! Maybe if Short was an Alll-American and we were a bigger known football school he would be eligible. In other news, the NCAA is still making billions off hypocrisy.

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

Cam Newton was allowed to play in the SEC and BCS championship games despite his Dad admitting he had sought money in direct violation of SEC rules, and thus in violation of NCAA rules. The rationale, Cam didn't know. Problem with that is the way the rule reads Cam didn't have to know. So even if you're gullible enough to believe he didn't know, it shouldn't have mattered.

The SEC, especially, and star players clearly are treated differently. It's all about big TV money when it comes to the NCAA.

jayhawk618 9 years, 2 months ago

Please don't write anything else. You make our fanbase look stupid.

Dale Stringer 9 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like one of the big-time teams wanted Short and felt jilted when he chose KU. So they pulled stings so we couldn't get him this year either.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 2 months ago

You know, the more I think of this, the more it smacks of those police departments with speeding ticket quotas. You know, the ones who say Officer A, if you don't write xx tickets every month you're not doing your job.

I really hope KU officials will take this to SI and ESPN and USA Today and anyone else who might want to look into it and take this national. What on earth is happening to the NCAA?

namohcan_99 9 years, 2 months ago

The only reason it isn't a high profile case is that we haven't put it in the limelight. It may be another domino, but eventually all these dominoes are going to fall over in a wave. I'd like to hear the explanation why they just forced Short to sit out and not the other athletes with a lower GPA. What makes this kid special to the others? I would push for an answer what makes this case different from the rest.

actorman 9 years, 2 months ago

It's almost like the NCAA is TRYING to get the big schools to secede.

They've been making idiotic decisions that lacked common sense for years, but in recent years they've gotten exponentially worse. I wonder what's happened to cause them to get so bad.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 2 months ago

This would be a nice story for the national media to pick up, but unlikely since it is just KU football. There was clearly something in Short's transcripts that made the NCAA concerned about his academics. Whether that same standard used for Short is used across all athletes and teams controlled by the NCAA is the question.

gorilla10 9 years, 2 months ago

Somebody call Jay Bilas and let him know about this story. If it happened to a bball player it would be everywhere! The NCAA has no right to do this.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

"And, for the second year in a row, common sense failed to prevail. Anyone noticing that this is becoming quite a pattern with the NCAA?"

Really, Matt?

You seem to be a smart guy and an accomplished journalist, but you have the gall to use "common sense" and "NCAA" in the same paragraph.

For shame.

Brian Leiker 9 years, 2 months ago

Would love to see the decision making committee members involved. Would put 10-1 odds that they are MU or KSU grads or married to one. This is unexplainable.

Rivethead 9 years, 2 months ago

I still think the Eric Butler ruling was a much bigger crime (to both the person and KU) than this one.

AZJHWK 9 years, 2 months ago

It works this way, beat up on the have not's to show how tough you are on academics, and basically look the other when it comes to the big dogs of the SEC. They have done it for 2 years in a row. I don't believe for a minute these situations aren't the same at most university's. IF it was KU and BBall the NCAA would be careful, but football, no problem!

W Keith Swinehart II 9 years, 2 months ago

Use this as another opportunity to learn, understand and develop a working relationship with a regulatory body. Regulators exist everywhere and are extremely powerful. They are also under a microscope. Good ones want to do right, have to walk a line and know they can make mistakes. This one got past us, but opens a door to better learn how to work with them. Use the moment to learn, and work at it. Once on the good side it gets better and can work in your favor. Get on the bad side and it can be hell.

It's good to aggressively protest with good grounds. But once you recognize that you have lost the fight move on. Don't mope and whine. And for heaven's sake keep the lawyers out of it.

In this case Kevin and the team will be fine. Play the game with the cards remaining. Kevin gets another year to get stronger and smarter. I assume he is on the practice squad, so practice gets better. Hopefully the relationship between NCAA and KU becomes workable and works for us. Think long term.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 2 months ago

I think the NCAA's role is necessary. I don't have any better ideas. I also think perhaps this is not about the three hours of a football game. Their perspective is about motivation. You wanna play? Go study. I get that. The only real question I have is about consistency and/or if this isn't just a problem with select schools.

Jay Hawkinson 9 years, 2 months ago

Has the NCAA itself released a statement about this case? Because as terrible as they are, they are generally good about citing the rules that were violated. Telling someone to "focus on academics" is uncharacteristically vague and arbitrary. I have to wonder if there is a part of this story we haven't heard yet. I hate to speculate, but perhaps he was suspected of cheating or having grades changed? The line about the NCAA being suspicious about his progress over the summer would be consistent with this.

Of course, the NCAA is a joke and seems to be getting even worse, so this may just be the latest terrible decision on their part. But to me it just doesn't quite sound like their M.O., so I have some suspicions that we don't have the full story.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 2 months ago

The conferences did create their own National regulatory agency. It's called the NCAA.

racerx 9 years, 2 months ago

The NCAA is, indeed, self-serving because that's what it was created to do. It was created to serve the member universities and is governed by those members. It's not some corporation or government entity that forces draconian rules on its members. The members themselves make the rules that they are then expected to abide by.

Eric Meyer 9 years, 2 months ago

Clearly, no one associated with this story has ever looked at the test scores and transcripts of students seeking admission to a major university. I have, and I can tell you if the NCAA thinks a student isn't ready, there's almost zero chance the student actually is. Athletic departments can work wonders -- sometimes ethically, sometimes not -- with students whose indicators of success are so low that any other remedial education program on campus would reject them. It's when you ask those departments to stretch too far that you end up with unethical behavior. I don't know this student's specific situation, but the previous institution has a very poor reputation for actually preparing students to succeed at a university like KU. Ironically, a student like this might do better at someplace like K-State.

racerx 9 years, 2 months ago

"...a dream for which Short worked his butt off this summer to make a reality..."

Okay, so Short may have worked his butt of this summer to boost his academics, but he apparently was working it off previously or there wouldn't be any question about his academic eligibility. It appears from the view of an outsider that the young man only started applying himself when it became apparent that he may not be academically eligible.

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I know very little about NCAA evaluation criteria, and am well aware that this case, matched alongside the agency's decisions regarding Newton and Manziel amounts to apples vs. oranges. However, after those major but piddly reprimands and/or penalties, I am not at all surprised at any NCAA decision, harshly illbound or fortuitously lenient. One thing which sportsfans know for certain: when huge dollars are to be lost, the NCAA rules with blindsight to protect its coffers.

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