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Friday, December 3, 2010
UK wants to resubmit Enes Kanter case

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Kentucky has asked the NCAA to resubmit its eligibility case for freshman Enes Kanter, instead of seeking an appeal.

A source with knowledge of Kentucky's plan told ESPN.com the NCAA's decision on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton prompted the new approach.

Enes Kanter
Kentucky believes the NCAA should take another look at the eligibility of Enes Kanter, who played for a senior professional team in Turkey.

Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible Nov. 11 for receiving "benefits above actual and necessary expenses while playing for a club basketball team in Turkey."

Kentucky then requested an appeal in front of the reinstatement committee that was scheduled for this week. But the Newton decision forced the school to alter its approach.

Newton was allowed uninterrupted game eligibility because it was determined he was not aware of his father shopping his services as quarterback to Mississippi State for pay.

Kentucky and the NCAA issued a joint statement Friday afternoon that read:

"When a school receives new information that could impact a student-athlete's eligibility, it is a standard NCAA process to provide the university with an opportunity to resubmit the case for consideration.

"Because an NCAA appellate body, such as the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, cannot hear new information on appeal, this reconsideration must first be made by the NCAA reinstatement staff. The university would then have an opportunity to appeal the staff decision to the committee.

"This opportunity is available to ensure a fair and thorough consideration of eligibility matters for the student-athlete. The NCAA and University of Kentucky will not have any further comment regarding the specifics of this case until the process has concluded."

According to the source, the school is expecting to hear from the NCAA amateurism staff within a week.

The NCAA staff handles the initial rulings in these cases from its Indianapolis headquarters. The appeals committee is made up of administrators from the membership.

There is precedent for a staff decision to be overturned by an appeals committee. Earlier this fall, Mississippi quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was initially denied a waiver to play right away after transferring from Oregon.

Masoli was using a waiver that allows students to transfer to another school without sitting out a year in residence if they've graduated and the current school doesn't have their desired graduate degree program. Masoli was granted the waiver and played for Ole Miss this fall.

Kanter, who is projected to be a top-10 pick in the June NBA draft if he were to declare, has been working out in Lexington and remains in school, but has not been allowed to travel with the team. He wasn't allowed to go on the team's August trip to Canada, either.

Kanter played three seasons with the Turkish club Fenerbahce from 2006 to 2009. He was on the senior club team in 2008-09. The NCAA said in a release Nov. 11 that the university and the NCAA Eligibility Center agreed on the facts that Kanter received $33,033 more than his allowable expenses for the 2008-09 season.

The new NCAA bylaw does allow possible players to play on teams with professionals. But players aren't allowed to exceed the actual and necessary expenses. Previously, players weren't allowed to be on a team with a professional without a game penalty.

West Virginia sophomore and fellow Turkish national Deniz Kilicli sat out the first 20 games of last season because he played on a team with a professional.

"Enes took advantage of an opportunity to play at the highest level available to him, but the consequences of receiving payments above his actual expenses is not compatible with the collegiate model of sports that our members have developed," Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in the Nov. 11 release.

Kentucky is hopeful that the same committee will now look differently at the case after the Newton decision. Kentucky has maintained that Kanter intended to be an amateur by pursuing an education in the United States as a senior in high school and then as a freshman in college instead of going directly to a professional team in Europe, considering he was a rare foreign player who was a lottery lock but wanted to be a college player.

The NCAA's student-athlete reinstatement staff ruled an amateurism violation did occur with Newton, but according to the facts agreed by Auburn and the NCAA enforcement staff, Newton was unaware of the plan by his father and the owner of a scouting service to seek a payment for his signed commitment.

In the Dec. 1 release regarding Newton's eligibility, Lennon said: "In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete's eligibility, we must consider the young person's responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement."

Kentucky will argue that, like Newton, Kanter was unaware there was an amateurism violation.

Kentucky (4-1) is at North Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

Andy Katz is senior writer for ESPN.com