I know it may be considered blasphemy to support an NCAA decision around these parts – but I have to say that they got one right this go around. When the NCAA approved for Kansas to pay for the funeral of one of their players mothers they certainly made a controversial decision, but I give the NCAA credit – it was by all means the right one. In the sports world we are privileged to live in 15 minute quarters, twenty minute halves, and thirty second time outs, but every so often things will happen outside of these increments that bring home the reality of it all.
Thomas Robinson, Sophomore Forward for the Kansas Jayhawks, is going through the process of losing his mother only weeks after the passing of both his grandfather and his grandmother. Lisa Robinson was only 37 when she passed away from a heart attack last Friday. In the matter of a month he went from a likely care-free college student to the sole guardian of his 9 year old sister – because there really isn’t anyone left for her to turn to. It’s an awful situation that many of us are fortunate not to have experienced – allowing for compassion was the least the NCAA could do in this case.
The fact of the matter is – by allowing Kansas to provide support for one of their athletes the NCAA is finally putting into place a positive precedent – the human element must be considered. They have been hammered for ridiculous(ly inconsistent) decisions as of late – all made behind the excuse of strict interpretation of the rules and their loopholes. However, by allowing Kansas to pay for expenses dealing with the funeral, they are saying that maybe the rule book doesn’t account for everything, maybe there should be exceptions.
It may be a controversial decision, but it shouldn’t be. It’s common sense.
Forewarning: I don’t mean to come across as combative with this, but in the grand scheme of things, any attempt to make a comparison of this ruling and the Enes Kanter decision will fail. It’s a dissappointment Kanter couldn’t play – it sure would have been nice to see him on the low post. But it’s tragic that any young man loses his mother and her parents within the past month. There’s nothing else to it.