Enes Kanter's Eligibility Denied Again by NCAA
NCAA investigators earlier found that Kanter received $33,033 above his "actual and necessary" expenses from his club team in his native Turkey.
"While unfortunate for Enes and the University of Kentucky, the final decision of the reinstatement committee is completely compatible with the collegiate model of sports our members have developed, since he received a significant amount of money, above his actual expenses from a professional team prior to coming to college," Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs said in a statement.
Kentucky coach John Calipari expressed disappointment in the NCAA's final decision and criticized what he called a "smear campaign" conducted by the Turkish club team Fenerbahce
"We ... find it unfortunate that a group of adults would come to such a decision regarding the future of an 18-year-old young man," Calipari said in a release sent by the school. "This has never been about our program or the University of Kentucky, it has been about the wishes of Enes and his family to have their son educated in the United States. It is a shame that Enes had to endure the constant speculation and misinformation that was furthered by certain media organizations in the smear campaign conducted by his Turkish team."
The Turkish freshman will be allowed to remain at Kentucky and retain his scholarship.
Kanter was originally ruled ineligible Nov. 11 after NCAA investigators found that he accepted more than $33,000 from a club team in Turkey in 2008-2009. Although athletes are now allowed to compete on professional teams prior to enrolling in college, they are not allowed to receive compensation above and beyond what the NCAA defines as necessary expenses, such as lodging or transportation to and from practice.
Kentucky appealed the NCAA's decision, but the appeal was denied Dec. 2. The school then asked for permission to represent the case, which the NCAA heard Dec. 10. However, according to the statement released by the NCAA Friday, Kentucky's new information did not change the "original statement of facts that had been agreed to by the university and the NCAA, " leading the NCAA to deny Kanter eligibility again.
Kentucky then appealed the ruling, which the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee heard Thursday.
Friday, the school was notified Kanter would remain permanently ineligible. The decision ends any possibility Kanter will be declared eligible.
Kanter will no longer be able to practice with the team, as he did while awaiting the final ruling. According to the NCAA, Kentucky will name Kanter an undergraduate assistant coach.
"The silver lining is that Enes will always be part of this team," Calipari said. "My job will be to prepare him for his entry into the NBA Draft, which this decision by the Association will likely necessitate. Enes will always be a part of our family and I plan to be by his side in the green room whenever he is drafted."
Kanter is expected to be a top five pick in this June's NBA Draft.