In its appeal to persuade the NCAA to reverse the decision to make Enes Kanter permanently ineligible, the University of Kentucky is hoping that putting a human face on the process can make the critical difference.
Sandy Bell, UK's chief compliance officer, said Friday that the school will have Kanter participate in the appeal. The hope is that Kanter gains his eligibility through a winning first impression.
When asked if she was optimistic about UK's chances of winning the appeal, Bell said, "I feel comfortable going in with him. He's a good kid."
After Kentucky opened the season by beating East Tennessee State, Coach John Calipari said Kanter "deserves" to be eligible. "I hope people will look at this in a common sense way," Calipari said, "and (say) the kid deserves better than this."
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Calipari said he respected but did not agree with the NCAA decision to rule Kanter permanently ineligible. The UK coach said Kanter and his father tried to protect Kanter's amateur status as he played for a professional team in Turkey.
"No one can argue that the kid wanted to be an amateur," Calipari said, "and so did his father."
NCAA rules allow such appeals to be made in written form or via a teleconference. The teleconference generally brings a much faster response, one reason UK has chosen that format.
The other reason is to allow members of the ruling body, the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, to see the person affected by permanent ineligibility.
The reinstatement committee is the final appeal opportunity in the initial-eligibility process. It is independent and comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences.
Appeal hearings via teleconference include participation from university administrators and the affected athlete. Calipari will not participate because UK considers this an institutional matter, not an issue for the men's basketball program, Bell said.
Since English is a second language for Kanter, he can use a translator.
Playing for three seasons on a professional team in his native Turkey put Kanter's eligibility in jeopardy. Earlier this year, the general manager of the pro team Fenerbahce Ulker told The New York Times that it gave Kanter and his family between $100,000 and $150,000 in compensation. The team also gave the NCAA banking and housing records to substantiate the figures.
NCAA rules allow for such players to receive "actual and necessary" compensation.
In announcing Thursday that Kanter had been ruled permanently ineligible, the NCAA said it decided that Kanter received $33,033 in excess of the permitted compensation.
Kentucky expects to make its appeal at the end of November. There is no set time frame, but most decisions are reached within a matter of days.
The NCAA does not permit new information to be introduced in the appeals hearing. UK hopes Kanter can represent a new element that makes a critical difference.