Student Athlete Learns a Hard Lesson from University of Kentucky

The National Letter of Intent

Crawford came back to the Wildcats squad this week – that’s a Hobson’s choice, huh?

Here’s the deal: Crawford can transfer to another Division One school, but he must sit out a year. That’s the rule, always has been.

Under the rules of the NLI, Crawford would become eligible at his next Division One school in December 2006 as a sophomore – unless The University of Kentucky won’t release him from his NLI. That’s the new part of the freshman transfer rule. Kentucky won’t, which means he’ll be eligible in December ’06 – but as a junior.

“We’re pleased that Joe is back with us and working out with the team,” Smith said in a statement about Crawford’s return. “As a leader, it’s important to have patience and give young athletes the space to make their own choices.
“We’re glad Joe has chosen to rejoin us. Our commitment to Joe remains to help him become a better person, better student and better basketball player.”

The problem I have with this is threefold.

For one, scholarships are 1year deals. If the coach doesn’t want the player to return, he can cut him loose.

No.Two. The NLI is binding even if the coach leaves – the old “you sign with a college and not with a coach” line. If you signed with Auburn and Tuberville leaves today, you’re stuck, pal.

For another, a player doesn’t have to sign an NLI to get a scholarship – but the school sure does want him to since it’s a binding agreement for 1 year. It also keeps other institutions from trying to recruit him.

Read that one again, high school athletes – you do not have to sign a National Letter of Intent. Don’t take my word for it; check out

NCAA President Myles Brand would have you believe college sports is not big business. That there’s such as thing as a student-athlete. That coaches are teachers. That the concern is all about the sport and the student.

Read the first part of this article. Crawford signed a National Letter of Intent but wanted to go to Michigan State University. Kentucky was holding him hostage.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!