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Lamar Basketball Player Sidelined by Wholesale Store Games

Avi Zaleon of the Beaumont Enterprise on Lamar’s Tyran de Lattibeaudiere:

The NCAA has deemed the junior forward from Jamacia ineligible to play this season.

It goes back to the MegaMart (a Jamacian wholesale chain) he worked at in Kingston, Jamaica.

After work, Lattibeaudiere and his co-workers would play basketball games against employees from other businesses. The players were unpaid and the league could be compared to a series of pick-up games.

From this quote it appears there is some disagreement between Lamar and the NCAA regarding how organized the competition was. This sounds comparable to beer league softball or adult rec basketball. Organized, but hardly competitive.

The big thing distinguishing Lattibeaudiere’s case from Steven Rhodes, Nathan Harries, or Jared Ward is why Lattibeaudiere’s competition occurred outside the grace period. The three other cases, which included an unfavorable NCAA decision that was reversed following a public outcry, included either military service or a religious mission. Those activities have always been granted deference by the NCAA; they are even exceptions to one of Division I’s most foundational rules, the five-year clock.

Lattibeaudiere though repeated a year of high school. That meant his grace period started when his class graduated, not when he graduated. Barring some compelling mitigating factors, that will be considered within his control and does not receive the same deference as military service or religious missions.

Lamar is planning to appeal and/or submit the case for reconsideration after the season and he may have a chance but success is far from certain. The new temporary waiver guidelines (supplement no. 4) grant the NCAA staff additional flexibility in this type of case:

Cases involving delayed initial collegiate enrollment due to active duty military service, participation on an official religious mission or in which a prospective student-athlete triggers the delayed enrollment legislation based on participation in minimal or loosely organized competition (e.g., prospect participated in recreational league with other military personnel while on active duty, prospect participated in five minutes of organized competition in municipal league, prospect participated in 5K “fun run” outside of one-year grace period).

None of the examples fit Lattibeaudiere’s situation exactly but if Lamar’s interpretation of the league is correct, it was certainly “loosely organized”. The problem would be the amount of participation. The article suggests that Lattibeaudiere played far more than a few minutes or a single game. Lamar cited the “totality of the circumstances” but given the lack of military or religious service, the guideline suggests that this league will need to be very disorganized for the NCAA to grant relief given the amount of Lattibeaudiere’s participation.

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