At 6-10, 310 pounds, former UCLA/current Georgetown center Josh Smith must be an intimidating man to say no to. Either that or Georgetown’s prestigious law school worked magic behind the scenes with the NCAA.
On Thursday, the NCAA granted Smith his transfer waiver from UCLA to Georgetown and returned a year of his eligibility after he played six games with the Bruins last season.
Coach K inveighed against the practice of transfer waivers this summer telling ESPN.com, “There should be no exceptions."
"Everybody should have to sit out, that includes a fifth-year player, just to make it equal. I think it's a farce, really." Coach K added.
This is nothing against Smith. If anything, Coach K should have been on the other end of the transfer waiver debate. The requirement for players to sit out one season is ridiculous enough without coaches having the authority to restrict transfer movement. I’m all in support of student-athletes hitchhiking without consequence from college to college if they desire.
However, the NCAA has to answer for the reasons why they allow certain transfer waivers while denying others.
Under NCAA rules transfer waivers are distributed based on a number of factors including a desire to play closer to ill family.
Smith isn’t getting any closer to his family. If anything, Smith is going into Witness Protection down in D.C.
Smith was a top-25 recruit out of Kent, Washington. However, Smith will have the added benefit of playing for a coaching staff that produced Greg Monroe and Roy Hibbert.
By comparison, the NCAA denied a waiver for incoming Rutgers sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro despite him losing his father and brother within a two-month period. That’s because the NCAA’s transfer waiver form doesn’t have any exceptions for mourning student-athletes.
It’s typical of what you’d come to expect from the heartless NCAA.
Meanwhile, former Missouri guard Michael Dixon was given the green light to play at Memphis after accusations of sexual assault drove him away. Ex-Louisville guard Rakeem Buckles was also denied his appeal at Minnesota after tearing his ACL twice in three seasons before he transferred to Florida International.
Or maybe we’ve come to expect too much of the NCAA. They’ve shown themselves to be an organization that makes hasty decisions without any standards or explanation.
The NCAA’s lax slap on the wrist against Miami, which licked their boots during the investigation process, was emblematic of their inconsistent rulings, in comparison to the hard time in probation they gave USC and Penn State.
Good luck to Smith. The 6-10 center still has to improve his conditioning and get down to his optimal playing weight of 290 pounds, but his immediate availability will be a huge boon for the Hoyas and John Thompson III’s flimsy job security.