Emmanuel Mudiay’s Move Should Put NCAA On Notice

Emmanuel Mudiay
Emmanuel Mudiay
Kevin Jairaj USA TODAY Sports

Don’t hate the player hate the game.

The NCAA has no one to blame but itself for the actions Emmanuel Mudiay revealed he was taking on Monday, namely his decision to forego his SMU scholarship and the chance to play for Larry Brown to sign what’s being branded a “lucrative” deal with a pro team abroad.

Rumors have it the-powers-that-be were looking into rumblings the cash-strapped, 18-year-old, top rated guard in the class of 2014 may have played for pay a time or two before, a clear-cut violation of the NCAA’s draconian and self-serving code of ethics.

“I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA,” Mudiay said in a subsequent statement. “But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle.”

Now, you tell me how conspiring with the NBA to raise the league’s age eligibility requirement even higher figures to make things any easier for the Emmanuel Mudiays of the world or the general population of teens like him who constitute the NCAA’s billion-dollar talent pool?

Sure, you could argue that if he had the chance to go straight to the NBA right now, Emmanuel Mudiay would already be ghost, and thus of no use or, more to the point, profit to the NCAA. But does the answer really lie in forcing him to play ball with them by restricting him the right to do so with anybody else?

But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And where there is great need, Emmanuel Mudiay felt a responsibility to try and fill it where his mom and family are concerned.

And so now, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound dynamo of a point guard takes his talents to parts yet unknown, a move even the legendary and notoriously insatiable Brown can’t beef about.

“This is not an academic issue, but rather a hardship issue,” Brown told SI.com. “After talking to Emmanuel, I know he really wants to alleviate some of the challenges his family faces and recognizes that he has an opportunity to help them now.”

Mudiay thus follows the road once taken by current Detroit Pistons star Brandon Jennings, who six-years ago spurned Arizona to sign a nearly $2 million deal for a season with a team in China before jetting back to the NBA.

But the NCAA can rest assured he won’t be the last as long as they keep playing the kind of games they’re known and increasingly held in contempt for.

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Glenn Minnis
Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.