Saturday, September 4, 2010

Transferring Is Tricky

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The story of Mississippi QB Jeremiah Masoli winning an NCAA appeal to have his eligibility restored so he could play in 2010 instead of having to wait until 2011 was very refreshing.

First of all, the Ole Miss Rebels needed him because they have two inexperienced signal callers at the most demanding position.

In reality, it's hard to imagine that Masoli would not be able to complete his final season at Oregon wearing the green, yellow and white for the Ducks. But the youngster did self destruct after being kicked off the team with two run ins with the police.

He pleaded guilty in a January theft at a fraternity house and was suspended for the entire 2010 season by Oregon Coach Chip Kelly. Then in June, he was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession and dismissed from the team.

The senior has completed his undergraduate degree and enrolled in Mississippi's Parks and Recreation graduate program. The NCAA will sometimes waive a one-year residency requirement for athletes who are transferring but are enrolling in a graduate program not offered at the previous school.

When I heard earlier in the week that Masoli was going to be ineligible, once again, the NCAA made a mistake.

But to the kid's credit, he appealed the decision and won. He claimed he was kicked off the football team but not out of the university.

There is no question that Masoli made some mistakes and he paid the price for it. I do commend Kelly for doing his best to run a clean program at Oregon.

But the biggest thing that has to be emphasized is did Masoli learn from his mistakes and is he entitled to a second chance? Yes!

To Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt's credit, he gave Masoli that second chance but under the condition that he's on a short leash and better play it straight otherwise his collegiate playing career will be over.

Don't kid yourself, Nutt does want to win and he needs the best player at quarterback to compete in the SEC. The conference's recent track record of winning national championships with LSU, Florida and Alabama speaks for itself.

But to Masoli's credit, the kid found a loophole in the situation. He took a negative and turned it into a positive. He got his undergraduate degree and by thinking on his feet to continue his education elsewhere at a school that didn't have his major, that was brilliant. Being a quarterback requires you to think on your feet and he scored a touchdown with this move.

We'll call this the academic audible.

Don't think that NFL scouts aren't taking notice of that. He gets to play the final year in college and will be able to get ready to seek a pro career next season. While character issues are important in the pros, being able to be humbled before you get there does minimize the extensive process that it takes to get there.

As I look at Masoli's situation, it hits closer to home.

Back in 1984, I was completing my Associates Degree at Broward Community College (BCC) in Journalism. The only course that I needed to get that degree was Math. I had to take Math a second time.

I also took two courses at Florida International University and got a C & D therefore the 1.5 GPA was what I had to deal with.

When I was seeking a transfer to the University of South Florida, the requirement was that I had to have a 2.0 GPA to be accepted from my last institution. As it turns out, I was initially rejected.

But when I told the person in charge of admissions that I earned a C in Math at BCC my last term and had a 2.0, he looked at me and nodded his head the said, "Welcome To The University of South Florida. But I will put you on academic probation your first term."

I never thought that my worst subject in school would turn out to be my best friend when I needed it. Indeed it was.

Institution turned out to be institutions.

I said to him that probation will be history by January and managed to get a pair of B's. The probation was gone and I was determined to earn my degree on time. In 1986, the mission to get My BA Degree was complete and am a proud USF Bulls alumnus.

How about those loopholes. With a little bit of salesmanship, thinking on your feet and a lot of hard work, while "Transferring Is Tricky" it can get done as long as the game plan is executed properly.

When it was all said and done, at least Masoli and I have that much in common and I'm hoping that he makes the most of the 2010 season.

Just winning a decision against the NCAA was big enough, but at least last years Rose Bowl Game will not be his last one with the controversy that forced him to relocate from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast. Hopefully he has more victories left.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.






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