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June 26, 2012

Opinion: Mike Bradley v. NCAA

When news broke that UConn transfer Mike Bradley's hardship waiver request was denied by the NCAA, many Hilltopper fans took to social media to express their frustration with the ruling.

Barring an overturned NCAA decision via an appeal from WKU, Bradley will have to sit out a year if he decides to remain at WKU, which could push him toward a junior college after already sitting out two years at UConn.

Below are some publicized hardship waiver requests that were either approved or denied. See if you can guess the correct outcomes.



Scenario One: Player 'A' wants a hardship waiver to leave School 'A' because he wants to return to his home state to be closer to his father, who's suffering from lung cancer. Player 'A's decision to leave comes shortly after his coach bolted from School 'A' for another school. Player 'A's hometown, where his father lives, is roughly 250 miles from the school he transferred to.


Scenario Two: Player 'B' wants a hardship waiver to transfer from School 'B' because he wants to be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in the previous year. School 'B' had recently hired a new coach who utilizes a spread system for his offense, which would have little use for Player 'B', who is a fullback. Player 'B' admits to a newspaper that the coaching change "sparked" the idea to transfer. He chooses to transfer to a school roughly 200 miles from the city where his mother lives.


Scenario Three: Player 'C' wants a hardship waiver to transfer closer to the home of his grandmother, who had cancer. Player 'C' wants to transfer away from School 'C', where the team is losing a large portion of its starting frontcourt, and Player 'C' (a power forward/center), could inherit major minutes in the upcoming season. He transfers to a school roughly 195 miles from where his grandmother lives.


Scenario Four: Player 'D' wants a hardship waiver to transfer because his father, who was the head coach at School 'D', was fired after a disappointing season. Player 'D' was a nationally ranked recruit coming out of high school, and was about to enter his junior season.



Outcomes:

Player 'A'-former Tennessee forward Tyler Smith, who transferred from Iowa to Tennessee in 2007. Smith was granted a hardship waiver.

Link: ESPN: Smith to play for Vols after getting eligibility waiver

Player 'B'-former Illinois fullback Jay Prosch, who announced his transfer to Auburn in Jan. 2012. Prosch was granted his hardship request.

Link: Former UMS-Star Jay Prosch plans to leave Illinois, move closer to ailing mother

Link: NBC Sports: Auburn transfer gets waiver, able to compete in 2012

Player 'C'-former UConn player Michael Bradley, who transferred to WKU. As stated earlier, Bradley had his waiver request denied.

Player 'D'-former Central Michigan player Trey Zeigler, who transferred to Pittsburgh from Central Michigan for the upcoming 2012-2013 season after his father lost the Central Michigan job following an 11-21 season. Zeigler got his request approved, and will be immediately eligible to play this year.

Link: Pittsburgh's Trey Zeigler receives waiver to make him eligible right away


The bottom line: Looking at the above cases side-by-side, it seems common sense that Bradley deserved approval of his waiver request.

But it's important to remember the NCAA likely has access to more information than the general public receives regarding these hardship requests, and that information could weigh heavily on their decisions.

The NCAA is not a court of law. While in a perfect world, you'd like to see a precedent set and followed for these types of cases, the NCAA has no obligation to do so. With most of these requests, the NCAA maintains a stance of going on a "case-by-case basis."

WKU fans have a right to be frustrated by the ruling, but must understand that there is no precedent set when it comes to these decisions (see Enes Kanter and Kentucky), and the NCAA could have some facts on their side not provided to the public that weighed heavily on the outcome.

Don't forget to stay tuned with InsideHilltopperSports.com for the results on Bradley's appeal, and what his next move will be if the appeal is denied.



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