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Harries loses year of eligibility ... for what?

11/6/2013

Nathan Harries was a member of both the Model U.N. and National Honor Society as a high schooler.

The year after he graduated from Atlanta’s Centennial High School, the devout Mormon packed his bags and headed to Raleigh, N.C., for the first of two years of mission work. There, he worked with the less fortunate, performed service projects and studied the Bible.

Clearly, Harries is exactly the sort of kid the NCAA wants to bar from college athletics.

I mean, could you find a worse seed, a more twisted example of a student-athlete?

Thank goodness for all of us, and especially for the Colgate basketball team, which had the audacity to offer this rabble-rousing troublemaker a scholarship, the NCAA is here to protect the purity and sanctity of college athletics and has dinged Harries a year of eligibility.

The kid, after all, played in an unsanctioned church league at Dunwoody Baptist Church last summer after he got back from his final year of mission work.

Played with men in their 30s, guys so old (or is it experienced?) they even had facial hair and paunches. Played against teams with names like Make It Drizzle, which clearly shows how serious they took this thing.

Harries played three whole games (three!) over the course of two nights (two!).

One night, while playing in this fancy, highfalutin league clearly stocked with future Kobes, Harries wore an old high school jersey with no number. A pathetic attempt to cloak his identity, perhaps?

Heck, he wasn’t even alone. Other players were masquerading around in anonymity too.

“Two of us had on a black jersey with the same number, but one of us was left-handed so they said it was OK," 36-year-old teacher and future NBA player Matt Adams told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which detailed Harries’ rule-breaking ways.

And then, when the NCAA sent him a routine questionnaire before he finally headed off to Colgate, Harries did the most awful thing of all: He told the truth. When asked if he had played any organized basketball over the past two years, he said yes.

The absolute gall.

A week later, the NCAA saved us from this scourge on college athletics and deemed Harris ineligible. He had violated an NCAA rule that stipulates that if you don’t enroll within a year of graduating high school, you can’t compete in organized competition (defined as one where score is kept and referees are present).

Clearly all that time with those older, wiser, more out-of-shape men gave Harries a clear advantage over his peers who were off playing against fit, 18-year-olds and not doing mission work.

Colgate, in an attempt to circumvent this pathetic excuse for a student-athlete, asked for a waiver. The good folks in Indianapolis had the good sense to deny that immediately.

Now of course Colgate, that rule-bending, cheating institution of lower learning, is appealing the decision.

We can only hope the NCAA denies that too, saving us all from Nathan Harries, honor student and missionary.