The NCAA serves up another heaping slice of slippery-slope pie.
Kent State defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight will appeal the NCAA’s denial of his waiver request for immediate eligibility, which he says is based on depression he developed while playing at Maryland.
Knight, a junior from Quincy, Florida, announced his transfer from Maryland on Nov. 5, six days after the school fired coach DJ Durkin, who had briefly been reinstated from administrative leave after two investigations into the football program. Knight transferred to Kent State and in May sought an immediate eligibility waiver, citing “depression symptoms due to the environment he experienced on the University of Maryland’s football team,” Kent State associate director for compliance Stephanie Rosinski wrote to the NCAA in a letter Knight provided to ESPN.
The NCAA’s committee on legislative relief denied Knight’s request June 4, writing that Knight “did not provide objective documentation that supports the assertion that [he] was the victim of egregious behavior” at Maryland.
Look, I get something of the dilemma here. You don’t want kids cropping up all over the place claiming depression as grounds for a transfer waiver without some verifiable basis for it. But, jeez, what more do they need regarding what happened at Maryland? There’s all kinds of documented evidence of abuse that the school itself discovered.
Knight’s statement cites two incidents from Maryland’s weight room, one in which a 45-pound plate allegedly was thrown at a teammate who wasn’t performing a workout correctly, and another in which a teammate allegedly was berated and forced to eat junk food for not making the weight required by the staff. Rosinski writes in her letter than both incidents involved former Maryland strength and conditioning coach Rick Court in 2016. Court and Maryland parted ways in August, days after an ESPN report detailed allegations of abuse within the program, several of which allegedly involved Court.
A university-commissioned investigation into the program found that Court “engaged in abusive conduct” while at Maryland. Rosinski writes that while the weight room incidents didn’t directly involve Knight, the impact on his mental health “should not be minimized.” Knight doesn’t recall speaking with the investigative committee about his experience at Maryland but included the report in his waiver request.
It’s the kid’s bad luck he didn’t speak on the record. And that’s the hair the NCAA decides to split.
“They [the NCAA] know what happened there, but they need more evidence as to things that happened to me,” Knight told ESPN. “It wasn’t like we were recording it while it was happening. Everything that was going on there, from the coaching culture and everything, you don’t really need evidence from that. Everything that you guys read, that was true. What more evidence do you need?
“I’m a kid that was actually there and went through it and witnessed everything. … I was definitely affected by it.”
I guess it’s too bad the FBI hasn’t investigated the Maryland coaching staff. The NCAA needs to do away with this shabby, subjective approach and simply give every student-athlete one chance to transfer and play immediately, no questions asked. Shameful.