Two days after the news broke that a Colgate basketball player had been stripped of a year of eligibility over his participation in three church-league games, the NCAA reportedly has reversed its decision, giving Nathan Harries a full four years of eligibility with the Raiders.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution brought the original ruling to light Tuesday, reporting that the NCAA had determined that Harries, an Atlanta-area product and devout Mormon, had played in an organized and competitive basketball league this summer after returning from a two-year mission.
The NCAA denied Harriesâ request for a waiver on Oct. 21, despite Harriesâ claims that the squad he played for was a âC-level team.â His father described the Dunwoody Baptist Church league â for which Nathan was just a fill-in â as an âold manâs leagueâ in an interview with the AJC.
âSome of the rulings that come from the NCAA donât make sense,â Harries father, Michael, told the paper. âJohnny Manziel gets a half-game suspension for signing autographs. A guy plays three games in a church league, and he loses a year. Obviously thereâs a difference between big-time athletes and small-time athletes with the NCAA.â
Once the ruling was brought to the publicâs attention, it was widely ridiculed, much like a similar decision earlier this year that temporarily left a Middle Tennessee football player ineligible over a Marine intramural league.
So it came as little surprise Thursday when the Journal-Constitution cited a source who said the NCAA had decided to restore Harriesâ fourth year of eligibility.
Itâs good news for Harries and a win for common sense, but even though the NCAA got it right in the end, you canât help but wonder how it ever got this call wrong in the first place.
Colgate opens its basketball season Friday on the road against Wake Forest.