The saga of former Alabama basketball player Daisha Simmons looks like it is finally coming to an end. The University of Alabama announced Tuesday night that they had changed course and were supporting Simmons's waiver request to be able to play basketball at Seton Hall this upcoming season. If you're unfamiliar with the details of Simmons's case, there are worse places to start than Keith Olbermann's summary.
Daisha Simmons has already graduated from the University of Alabama, but still retains another year of college basketball eligibility. After she was denied entry into Alabama's MBA program, she decided to enroll in Seton Hall's. This would allow her to pursue an MBA, play college basketball, and be closer to home, where she has a brother sick with End Stage Renal Disease. All good, right?
Of course not, because the NCAA is an awful institution with awful rules, and they found a morally-bankrupt partner in the University of Alabama. "Student-athletes" who transfer between D-1 colleges must sit out one year, and even though the University of Alabama could have released Simmons from that obligation, they chose not to until now.
Simmons has already completed her undergraduate education, and there are specific waivers in place for people in situations like hers who want to continue their graduate education while playing sports at a different institution. There are also family hardship waivers in place. The only thing preventing Simmons from being granted either of these waivers, for which she is seemingly eligible, was a letter from the University of Alabama saying they didn't object. That's right, the University objected to her moving closer to home to help take care of her ailing brother.
As horrifying as the specifics of this case are, they shouldn't matter. Coaches—you know, the only people actually paid in college athletics—are allowed to make promises, recruit kids to their school, and then up and bolt to another college without having to sit out a year. Yet players aren't allowed to accept any money, and they are held hostage by schools even when they've seemingly fulfilled their ends of the scholarship bargain. Death to the NCAA, indeed.
Alabama's reversal is also a win for Jay Bilas (and many other critics), who has blasted the NCAA, University of Alabama, and Alabama women's basketball coach Kristy Curry in tweets and interviews for the past week. Bilas has turned into quite the critic of the NCAA and its member institutions, criticizing them for all manner of misdeeds, and almost always forcing them to reverse course.
For a detailed timeline of the whole ordeal, head on over to Swish Appeal, which has reported the hell out of this story from the beginning.
Photo via Jason Getz/AP