Every year, as March comes closer, we start to feel a tingling excitement for what we know is to come in that month. March is already here, and you can pretty much feel the madness in the air. There is really no better word to describe what happens whenever the NCAA basketball tournament starts. It is a time of wonder in which we never know who is going to come out on top. Of course, there are times when the number one seed eventually prevails and takes home the national championship, but how many times have we seen crazy upsets?
From that time when an underdog Connecticut took home the title to recent upsets like when C.J. McCollum helped Lehigh beat Duke in 2012. There really is no fix for a basketball fan better than the NCAA tournament. However, while the basketball is exciting and most of the players have a future in the NBA, the NCAA is still one of the most despicable organizations in the world. And the reason behind that is because players have to follow some of the most ridiculous rules in all of sports. There is the age-old question of whether athletes should be remunerated for what they do in college since the schools and the NCAA are making crazy amounts of money out of these young men. And there are also the countless eligibility violations that have been triggered because of the most stupid reasons. Get ready to start hating the NCAA even more than you already do, because here are 15 ridiculous rules their basketball players have to follow.
15 The International Problem
While in the United States there is competitive high school and college basketball, other countries work differently. Like it happens in all other sports across the globe, international basketball is run by clubs. What that means is that these kids don’t play for their schools as much as they play for clubs that pay them money to represent them in tournaments. It is just like soccer. That being said, it is not weird at all to see players in their mid-teens playing professionally and receiving salaries, as was the case with Enes Kanter.
While playing in Turkey before college, he had a $33,000 salary, which he eventually gave up to go to the United States and play college ball at Kentucky. But since players cannot be remunerated, Kanter was deemed permanently ineligible and could not play for Kentucky.
14 Students Can Only Receive So Much Food From Colleges
One would imagine that student-athletes would be allowed to eat a lot. After all, these are guys and gals need tons of calories in order to get through all the training and games they have to face throughout the season. However, the NCAA thinks differently. Apparently, there is a limit to how much food a student-athlete can receive from the University. Yes, these vampires (you get the pun, right?) are regulating how much these kids can eat.
Do you need an example of that? We do not need to go that far. It was recently that several self-reported violations by the University of Oklahoma went viral online. One of them entailed that three student-athletes received “food in excess of NCAA regulation at a graduation banquet.” Yeah, they ate too much pasta, and the school had to report it.
13 Colleges Can't Pay For Wi-Fi When Traveling
Since we were talking about Oklahoma, let’s stay with them for a little bit because their violations are hilarious. What is the most annoying thing that can happen to you when you get to a hotel you are going to spend a weekend at? No, we are not talking about the rooms being dirty. Anyone can learn to live like that. No, we are talking about something way worse. We are talking about those times when we go to hotels where there is no free Wi-Fi available. What is this, a dictatorship?
Either way, during one of their away games one of Oklahoma’s players decided she would not stand by this no Wi-Fi BS. That’s when she ordered Wi-Fi for $9.95. The assistant coach did not notice the expense on the bill, and thus she incurred a violation of the NCAA code.
12 The Ridiculous "Recruiting Violations"
It is not just the players who have to deal with the ridiculous rules put up by the “non-profit” organization. Not only do they have to suffer to replace players when these commit one of the million violations in the NCAA code, but coaches also have to watch out because they can commit violations as well. One of the most recent and ridiculous violations attributed to a coach happened in women’s basketball.
You all know Mo’ne Davis, right? That little girl who became a sensation playing baseball but then everyone found out she was even better at basketball? Well, she also caught the eye of UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who called her to congratulate her on leading her team to the Little League semifinals. Believe it or not, the NCAA slapped him with a recruiting violation for that.
11 Inconsistent Academic Progress
One would imagine that if you are on track to graduate in December of your senior year, you are someone ahead of the curve when it comes to your progress towards a degree. Usually, everyone just graduates in May. Nevertheless, an Oakland basketball player named Jalen Hayes was suspended by the NCAA for not making “satisfactory progress toward a degree.” But he was going to graduate in December, so the math here doesn’t add up. Like in countless other instances, the NCAA ruling makes no sense. The bottom line here is that to get credit for a class in Oakland you need to get at least a 2.8. Hayes ended up getting a 2.5 in one class, which eventually led him not to earn full credit.
That dropped him below the 18 mandatory credits NCAA forces student-athletes to have. But the thing is that he would have passed if he was in any other school.
10 No Dunking
The dunk is the most thrilling moment of a basketball game. Apart from a buzzer-beating three-pointer, there is little you can do on a basketball court more exciting than a slam dunk. When you go to a professional game, one of the most entertaining things to watch are the warm-ups, when the players go crazy with their dunks. Depending on who plays for your college, this it is also true for the college game. Or at least, it should.
Believe it or not, the NCAA has a no-dunk rule for the last 20 minutes of pregame warm-ups. Yes, players are not allowed to dunk during that time. The University of North Florida found that out the hard way as one of the players dunked in the pregame and the penalty was two technical free throws for the other team at the beginning of the game. And yes, they lost that game by two points.
9 Better Sleep On The Floor
The bottom line of NCAA rules is that coaches cannot do anything for their players. They can only talk to each other during practice and games. At least, that is how it seems after you go through some of these ridiculous violations the NCAA punished guys for. Let’s go back to the late '90s, when a guy named Chris Richardson was a forward at UNLV. Richardson was tired of his mattress, and his back was probably hurting, so he decided it was time to get a new mattress.
Unfortunately for him, he got the new mattress from an assistant coach. And here’s the catch; his mom allegedly paid for the mattress, which would have made it okay. But Richardson was caught on a technicality because the truck he used to transport the mattress was from that same assistant coach. Talk about bad luck.
8 NCAA Recruits Must Complete High School In Four Years
A lot of the young men who go on to play college basketball are guys who have struggled through most of their lives. You just need to look at the NBA to see some of the most amazing comeback stories in the history of sports. These are guys who came out of nothing and made a name for themselves and gave a home to their families because of basketball and how hard they worked at it. Sometimes, however, the NCAA doesn’t allow someone to overcome the problems in their past.
The story of Evan Battey is arguably one of the saddest when it comes to the NCAA and its rules. Evan struggled because of family problems and had to repeat ninth grade. For that, he was unable to finish high school in four years, as it is mandatory by the NCAA. The result was he was deemed ineligible even though he overcame his academic struggles.
7 Coaches Can't Loan Money... Even To Keep A Player Off The Street
When you reach your senior year of high school, and you are an NCAA prospect, your entire life goes under a microscope. These guys are looking for any way to make you ineligible for college ball. At least that is how it seems. Perry Jones was a great talent and eventually made it to the NBA. However, while he was a senior in high school, his family was having money problems because of his mom’s medical bills. They were essentially homeless, and his mom took a loan from his old AAU coach to keep the family off the streets.
Now you would imagine that any decent human being would look at this situation and disregard whatever violation might have happened. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the NCAA has many decent human beings, and they gave Jones a six-game suspension because his mom tried to put a roof over his head.
6 Despite NCAA Netting $1 Billion Through March Madness, Players Don't Get A Dime
The NCAA tournament is something that earns the so-called “non-profit” organization almost $1 billion. And no, we are not kidding. Just the television deal with CBS is worth something around $800 million for a year. Put that together with all the tickets and merchandise, and you will probably have a figure that surpasses $1 billion. The funny thing here is that while they are racking in this kind of money, the NCAA still says players are greedy when they want a little money for what they do.
And while people can argue for the amateur status of the sport and how the players are already getting an education, it is hard to stand by a rule like this when there are guys playing in the Final Four, like Shabazz Napier did in 2014, saying there were times they didn’t have enough money to buy food.
5 Coaches Can't Even Mention Recruit Names
If you are an NCAA coach, you have to be extremely wary of what happens in your social media. Yeah, while some organizations are slow to adapt to this new age, the NCAA was quick. What we mean is that no coach in college basketball is allowed even to talk about an unsigned recruit. Be it in the news or on social media; this is a big no-no for the NCAA.
Sometimes, however, this goes beyond ridiculousness. Coaches are people too, and people make mistakes every once in a while. Just ask Josh Pastner, the Memphis coach who mistakenly tweeted the name of a highly coveted recruit. The catch here is that Josh was trying to Google the guy, but because his wife was yelling at him and he was stressed, he ended up tweeting it instead. The result? The NCAA still slapped him with a violation.
4 Alumni And Personalities Get in Trouble Too
If you thought the NCAA rules only applied to people actively working or playing at a university, you are very wrong. The reality is that anyone who is involved in any capacity with a University can, and probably will, be charged with a violation if the NCAA as much as sniffs them doing something outside of their code of conduct. This includes former University players and coaches talking to potential recruits.
One basketball example happened when the legendary coach Bobby Knight called a couple of guys who were being recruited by his son Pat. The NCAA got a whiff of it and handed the college a violation. In other sports, we have the example of Johnny Manziel recently having to apologize for tweeting to Texas A&M recruits. Imagine the circus if Michael Jordan called a North Carolina recruit.
3 No Money For Textbooks
Isn’t the whole point of making sure that athletes are not paid during their college days to make them focus on their studies and not have any distractions other than school and sport? At the end of the day, athletes are not getting paid with money because they are getting paid with an education. That is one noble line to follow, and one we are sure the NCAA milks at every turn they can. Nevertheless, their actions and rules do not make any sense even where school is related.
Out of all the ridiculous rules and violations we could find, none came even close to when they started an investigation on a school because their teams were receiving “improper textbook allowances.” Yeah, who needs books to study?
2 No Saying Goodbye To Grandma
Like we mentioned already, a lot of the kids who play NCAA basketball had incredibly poor childhoods. And since they cannot earn any money while playing college ball, they are still incredibly poor. This is how a person’s humanity comes in question, as some coaches are put in heartbreaking situations where they must decide whether they will protect the program or if they will help these kids.
A great example happened in North Carolina State while Jim Valvano was the head coach there. This was during the '80s, and one of his players was a poor kid from the South. The kid’s grandmother passed away suddenly, leaving him desperate to go to the funeral. Here, coach Valvano decided to buy him a round-trip plane ticket. The kid attended his grandmother’s funeral, but when he returned, the NCAA punished everybody.
1 The Mail Problem
Now if you thought that there was even a little thing that the NCAA had not regulated when it came to players, coaches, and recruiting, get ready to have your mind blown. Not only has the NCAA regulated everything that has to do with the sport of basketball, but they have also regulated the recruiting process down to the size of the envelopes schools are allowed to send the players.
Seriously, we are not kidding. According to the NCAA rules, recruiting materials cannot be sent on an envelope bigger than 9” x 12”. When you think about it you don’t need much more than that in order to show why someone should attend your school. Hence, everyone should be glad that West Virginia got punished because they were showing off with the 10” x 13” envelopes they were sending to their women’s basketball recruits.