Another day, another case of the NCAA, one of the most reviled organizations in the country, just not getting it. But, first, a little back story.
At one point homeless in Waco and unable to get into Baylor, Silas Nacita ultimately righted himself and earned acceptance into Cornell of the Ivy League in 2012. Missing home, Nacita returned to Waco and attempted to enroll at BU again in 2013. After that second attempt failed — he was unable to secure a loan to pay for school — he enrolled at a community college while at the same time saving money for tuition by waiting tables.
He saved up enough money to pay his BU tuition, ultimately walking on to the football team and earning Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2014. Even that honor came with its own back story as Nacita couldn’t afford to pay for textbooks; instead, he took cell phone pictures of pages of the textbooks at the campus bookstore from which to study.
Fast-forward to today and Nacita has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. For declining to go through school homeless. For accepting the generosity of friends. For, essentially, following his dreams.
Unbelievably, Nacita had a classy response to the development on social media, declining to (rightly) take the NCAA to task for what appears on the surface to be a shortsighted ruling.
(If you read that and don’t feel the least beat of empathy and sympathy, and perhaps feel the eyes begin to well up, you have no heart. Or are with the NCAA, which is actually redundant so never mind.)
At least one of his teammates, though, wasn’t as gracious.
Baylor is expected to release a statement on the situation today, a statement which will hopefully include not only the NCAA backing down from its ruling, but also an announcement that Nacita has been put on scholarship.
Rules are rules, but at some point common sense needs to come into play. That, though, is something that’s in short supply in Indianapolis and elsewhere in collegiate athletics, with the schools making money hand over fist while at the same time the entity that oversees them punishes a broke kid for going into self-preservation mode by accepting a roof over his head.
The system’s broke and needs fixed. This is just the latest, but not last, example of how serious the need is.