Could Joel Be the Guy to Successfully Challenge the NCAA Rule that Going Pro Forfeits One's Eligibility?

  • I have always thought that sooner or later a player that jumped early and washed out for whatever reason would successfully challenge the the NCAA rule denying him the right to come back and play in Division 1.

    Joel could be the perfect candidate for trying to break this stupid and arbitrary rule.

    Joel could come back to Lawrence, and rejoin the KU team and begin playing in games.

    What could the NCAA do to stop it?

    Is the NCAA going to give KU the Death Penalty for letting a guy come back and get an education in hopes of bettering himself and restarting his basketball career?

    Is the NCAA going to deny one of the greatest center prospects of the last three decades the chance to play in big man-starved D1?

    If Joel came back and rejoined the KU team right now it would be the biggest story in college basketball for the entire season. The ratings of D1 basketball was spike, precisely because of the controversy. Everyone in college basketball would love the NCAA for flipping off Adam Silver and letting college players go pro and then return to college.

    The NCAA would for once be regaining the momentum in the game of basketball over the NBA.

    What would the NBA do?

    Would the NBA sue Joel, KU and the NCAA for violating the NBA’s cartel-like organization?

    Come home, Jo Jo.

    Let’s get on with the business of winning that ring after you collect a few more paychecks, eh?

    Let Self develop the greatest center prospect of the last few decades the way he should have been developed.

    Then go pro.

    And if the NBA refuses to re-draft you, watch the dollars roll in from overseas to hire your services.

  • Wish that could happen. JoJo has had a tough time at it. Unfortunately the monster that is the NCAA would squash our little progam for such defiance.

  • If Isaiah Austin’s tragic medical issues didn’t impact the NCAA’s position on how they handle things after these kids sign with an agent then Jojo’s situation will not challenge their policy’s either.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “Is the NCAA going to give KU the Death Penalty for letting a guy come back and get an education in hopes of bettering himself and restarting his basketball career?”

    In the old days I would say “yes” the NCAA has no problem giving us the death penalty for helping a guy get an education. They almost gave us the death penalty for openly loaning a recruit transportation money to rush home to be at his grandmother’s bed side before she died. We had even warned the NCAA by self reporting. And at that time there was no structure in place for the NCAA to handle a situation like that.

    The only way I see something like this ever happening is if a school would start the process by taking it to civil court and forcing the NCAA’s hand to qualify JoJo and the process. Because this would set a new precedence I don’t think it could be done in a timely fashion.


    Isaiah Austin’s story was pure tragedy. But he couldn’t come back to D1 for the same reason he couldn’t play NBA. It was a risk to his life.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    s the NCAA going to give KU the Death Penalty for letting a g

    What’s the point? even if he does come back, we win more big 12 titles? hooray…we can accomplish that without him just fine. unfortunately, he’s no longer a reliable resource given his health. for him to come back and have to sit out the ncaa tourneys…really, what’s the benefit.

    he’ll just be taking time away from other players who need the opportunity/experience.

  • Embiid’s health won’t allow that. The injury he has is one that does two things.

    1. A player becomes a shell of themselves athletically or…

    2. A player is forced to retire.

    This is an injury that ends careers and we will never get to see Joel Embiid reach his ceiling as a player unfortunately because of the nature of this injury.

    If Joel Embiid comes back to KU it will be as a student and not as an athlete.

  • JoJo needs to come back to get his degree, more now then ever before! As far as Isaiah Austin, the nba guaranteed him a job when he was finished w/school. That kid is impressive!!! Nba handled it well.

  • There is no reason why Embiid cannot come back to KU and finish his degree; there is no rule that the NCAA can enforce to prevent that. In fact, the NCAA has not standing if Embiid wants to come back and finish his degree.

    Now, if he want to play BBall for KU again when he comes back, then the NCAA has standing and the authority to prevent him from doing so. Keep in mind that the NCAA is an organization that schools join voluntarily and by doing so they agree to follow its rules and regulations, The NCAA still requires that Athletes be amateurs and once they go pro, there is no going back. You cannot change he rules after the fact because they no longer suit you. When Embiid decided to go pro, he knew there was no comimg back and I just do not see any reason to change that. I understand that the NCAA is looking at changes in the rules that would allow athletes to come back to college after they declared for the draft but went undrafted, provide they did not sign with an agent or signed a pro-contract.

    I remember the days when student went to college to…surprise, surprise… actually get a college degree and sports was just an extra-curricular activity and the school was not just a barely tolerated pit stop for top athletes on their way to the pros.

  • I’m a big fan of the NCAA and its rules. The main reason is that I love college basketball. The more those rules are compromised, modified, and softened, the bigger threat there is to CBB ending as we know it. It’s that simple in my mind.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    While I agree that it was nice thing to do, was it really something the NBA should have done? I am sure he is not the only athlete that has been unable to continue playing because of health issues but one with high visibility. Shouldn’t the NBA the do the same thing for all others in the same situation? Do only high profile athletes in that situation get a guaranteed job offer? I am afraid it sets a precedent that would place the NBA in future potential liability when other players in similar situation ask for a guaranteed jobs.

    I understand that Austin is finishing his degree and he is working as an assistant at Baylor; I believe that is the best way to go.

  • @JayHawkFanToo How does the NBA telling Isaiah Austin that they will hire him after he graduates have anything to do with the NCAA? The NBA set the terms of Austin’s future employment which is common for many companies to set prerequisites before full time employment.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Sorry, should have said NBA instead of NCAA. Corrected now. Having said that, the NBA is free to do what it wants.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I would say all draft picks are high visibility players, or are you saying that players that can’t make it in the nba should be offered a job? Josh Selby, Embiid, Korleone young, Xavier Henry are a few I can think of that didn’t make it.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    No. The players you mentioned were selected just not good enough to make/stay in the League but are otherwise healthy. I am talking about the college players that, much like Austin, are unable to move forward with pro careers because of medical conditions. For example, if Embiid would have been determined to be unable to play in the NBA because of a bad wheel and before the draft, should the NBA offer him a guaranteed job as well? How about a less visible but still potential NBA prospect that suffers a career ending injury while in college?

    Where do you draw the line? Again, the NBA is a semi-private enterprise that is free to do as it wants; however, since like all professional sports it enjoys a de-facto government endorsed monopoly, its public policy is subject to public scrutiny. Just sayin’

  • @JayHawkFanToo Embiid and Austin are two completely different situations.

    Joel Embiid has an injury that’s caused from his size and doesn’t guarantee an end to a career. Embiid can get medically cleared to play basketball at some point in the future and he has already signed an NBA contract that guarantees him enough money that he can be set for life if he’s smart with his money.

    Isaiah Austin had a preexisting medical condition (Marfan Syndrome) discovered during a predraft physical which is much more in depth than a HS or college physical is. The condition Austin has is a potentially life threatening one and he was lucky he didn’t die on the court. Austin will never be medically cleared to play basketball again and therefore unable to ever sign a multimillion dollar fully guaranteed contract unlike Joel Embiid.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 One important point … Embiid’s injury may not be caused just by his size. His size is surely a factor. However, in his case, I think that it was something else that was the cause.

    If all may recall, Embiid hurt his left knee in 2014. Bad hyper-extension. Remember, it was the left knee. My humble opinion is that his altered gait led to his back problems and the stress fracture there. I raised the issue at the time, and I also raised the issue of additional injury in rushing Embiid back too quickly as it might lead to other injuries.

    The stress fracture can arise from running in an altered fashion, as well as landing favoring one side. This happens regularly in folks that run improperly due to alignment issues, etc.

    The stress fracture develops when the healing process fails. That is important. It is Embiid’s personal healing process that is failing him now.

    Embiid has now been fighting a right foot stress fracture. This is obviously on the side that would take the brunt of his weight when landing to favor his left knee.

    I do think that the foot issue (right foot) could have easily developed from favoring his left knee when playing with the injury.

    Again, the non-healing is based upon Embiid own unique healing process. So he has a predisposition to this based on how his body repairs itself.

    This is absolutely not a stretch, given the proximity in time of the issues. I have visited with an orthopedic surgeons I know, who is a very good friend of mine, and he said that this time line makes sense. He also pointed out that Embiid could have had other issues in his foot that made the over-taxing of his foot even more likely to sustain a stress fracture. He also pointed out, as @Texas-Hawk-10 mentioned, size can impact the severity of the stress.

    Remember when we discussed the risks of Embiid returning too quickly from the injury?

    I think what we’re seeing is the direct result of Embiid near ACL tear. At least it is very reasonable to think that it could be the root cause for everything he is dealing with now.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    I think you misread my post. I said:

    For example, if Embiid would have been determined to be unable to play in the NBA because of a bad wheel and before the draft,

    Yes, I understand that Austin could be potentially dangerous. But, once again, how about if Embiid was told, you have a weak bones structure…or whatever, and if you try to play further you risk losing your foot altogether…before the draft and he was never even drafted?

    In both cases, the end result is the same, talented players unable to compete at the next level because of a medical issue. I can think of several players recently that had to quit playing college sports when they were found to have career ending congenital conditions. While Austin is a very sympathetic figure, because of his previously revealed eyesight issue, he is by no means the only potential prospect that had to quit playing sports because of medical reasons; it happens more often that we know. In fact. some players have actually died while playing (Hank Gathers comes to mind); Austin just happens to be a high profile one.

  • @jaybate-1.0 That’s a great topic of discussion!

    We all want JoJo back. Wonder if he has the guts to pull it off and if he really even wants to come back. I bet he does, but who knows.

    I just want the guy to get healthy so he can prove all the doubters wrong!

    He is no bust.

  • Most of the NCAA’s grip on college athletes relates to scholarships.

    This is just all hypothetical… it ain’t gonna happen! But… JoJo locked down his guarantee money so he is already a millionaire.

    What if he decided he wanted to play college ball as a walk-on? Doesn’t he have 5 years to complete his eligibility? Could he walk on and play?

    How much of the NCAA rules around eligibility relate to scholarships and how much relates to just qualifying to play D1?

    I think once he announced for the draft and hired an agent, it made him ineligible to play D1, even as a walk-on.

  • @drgnslayr

    The only role that the NCAA has in scholarship is limiting the number of available scholarship (13 for men’s basketball); it is up to the individual schools to determine to whom they give the scholarships.

    The NCAA simply rules on eligibility, i.e. it determines if a player is eligible to play college sports and it is independent of scholarships. Once a player has exhausted or permanently lost eligibility he/she can no longer play college sports…he can continue to attend college but not play NCAA sanctioned sports. He/she can however play Collegiate Club Sports since they are not sanctioned by the NCAA but the have their own set of rules and eligibility requirements.

    Embiid lost his eligibility permanently (when he turned pro) and he is no longer eligible to play NCAA sanctioned sports. Period.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “The only role that the NCAA has in scholarship is limiting the number of available scholarship…”

    There is more to it than that. For example, recruits can change schools without sitting a year if they haven’t started their actual scholarship (grant in aid). Even if they signed a LOI… as long as they are released from the school.

    There are other issues that have become legal issues now, like the rights of the images of college players. I’m not sure, but at least moving forward it seems that the NCAA is trying to connect those rights around the scholarships received by the athletes as a “payment.”

  • @drgnslayr

    When a player changes schools/transfers then it becomes an eligibility issue, right?

  • At this point, the NCAA appears to be operating increasingly with situational ethics on an ad hoc basis.

    It continues to modify its standings on what it can and cannot do about rules violations.

    It occasionally suggests that it lacks sufficient resources to enforce its own rules.

    It let the NBA tell it when its players would be allowed to leave college for the pros–after one year of D1 ball. The NCAA did nothing.

    It appears prepared to let the NBA tell it that the players cannot go pro until after their second season. The NCAA appears prepared to do nothing again.

    The OBannon Case kicked the NCAA in its balls for its role in player likenesses being marketed without compensation for the players. Now it reputedly settled out of court.

    Put another way, it appears to have changed its stance on compensation for players likenesses be used in marketing.

    It is reputedly changing its stance and enabling separate power conference standards.

    It is reputedly considering changing levels and forms of compensation for players while in D1.

    The NCAA is constantly reconciling to outside and internal forces. Nothing about its rules are sacred. They are just rules with legacies stretching back to one of western culture’s less holy institutions–19th Century Amateurism.

    There is no reason in the world why it cannot also arbitrarily establish new rules for accepting players back into D1. None. Zero. Zip.

    Think, people.

    Take. Blinders. Off.

    If Big Shoe paying UL $45M bones and UMich $60M bones and players being apparently tacitly allowed to have grey area relationships with Big Agent and Big Shoe before, during and after their times in D1, and Big Gaming and Big Media and the NCAA reputedly tacitly tolerating games being fit in broadcast windows by asymmetric whistles, and wonky seeding reputedly aimed at attracting eye balls, enabling stacks and weeding out teams that won’t maximize eyeballs, don’t ruin the game, how in god’s green, but increasingly solar global warming driven environment, can letting early jumps that wash out come back and play hurt the game?

    And to argue that the NCAA will not, or will never, make such a change is to ignore all of the situational changes the NCAA has been making and will continue to make to reconcile with its bottom line need for player talent to keep its product capable of generating the revenues the NCAA, member institutions, Big Media, Big Shoe and Big Gaming require it to give.

    This is a cash cow we are talking about here.

    Cows have to give milk.

    To give milk, they have to have raw materials–grass, feed and water.

    Players are the most basic raw materials of D1 basketball.

    Gotta have them.

    We are not yet to the point of staffing rosters with cyborgs grown at an experimental barn at KSU, thank god.

    It is about the money.


    Its about human beings.

    This is one time when it can be a win-win.

    Getting more of these NBA wash out players to come back and play and finish school is a GOOD THING!!!

    D1 depends on a player supply of adequate talent level for coaches to put out a product that generates sufficient ticket, media and gaming consumption to keep this integrated apparatus spitting out the huge amounts of cash required to keep it going.

    Why keep driving coaches like Self and Few to young foreign players, when we have all the domestic washouts they need without going overseas?

    Why force the outsourcing of American college basketball, when it is completely unnecessary, if we just change one little rule in the midst of all the rule changing this is going on?

    Players that have jumped early, played professional basketball and washed out, or just want to take a break and come back and finish now that they have secured a nest egg, should absolutely be allowed to return to play at the college level on scholarship. They should be allowed to play and go to school with whatever remaining eligibility they have.

    This solves sooooooooo many problems that it is scandalous not to have been adopted long ago. And it pushes more of the good players around all of D1.

    Frankly, doing anything else is patently absurd.

    Persons in the private sector can stop working and go back to school any damn time they please.

    College sports are part of the university academic product. Players go to school to take academic curriculum and develop themselves athletically. Sports are a profession that one prepares for with college.

    Let’s get on with it.

    Even suggesting not to make this change one ought to put on a straw hat and spats and talk with a late 19th Century Oxford, or Ivy League, accent about the virtues of indoctrinating “amateurism” into the classes, so as to make them better able to “…work the colored” in the equatorial colonial regions. Chop, chop! Restart the Olympics, chaps. We Brits will be the Greeks and you Yanks can be the Romans, and we’ll all have a grand time, and save a few quid by not having to pay the wankars in the process of teaching them a thing or two about team work."


    This archaic institution of amateurism has some virtues, if we can prune away the imbecilic aspects of it.

    There is no flipping reason why professional players that don’t make it in pro ball should not be allowed to come back and go to school on scholarship and play D1 basketball, while they get their degrees. Allowing this will probably sharply improve the integrity and quality of the D1 game, and end a lot of the exploitative drama growing up around the decision when to jump. And it will sharply reduce the control of D1 Adam Silver and the NBA currently wield. And there is not a damned thing Silver and the NBA can do about it, except whine.

    This is one change that could be enacted before high tea, chaps.

    Let’s get on with it, shall we?

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “When a player changes schools/transfers then it becomes an eligibility issue, right?”

    True. But a key part of it is whether he received aid. I believe it is the aid that is the real lock on a player at a school. Until that happens, there are ways out without losing a year.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    At least part of what you want, will most-likely be adopted next year:

    NCAA proposes new NBA draft rule to allow early entrants back in school

    I think most “experts” think there will be several changes coming soon that will benefit the athletes.

  • @drgnslayr

    Thanks for the link.

    It is a funny thing about feasibility.

    You can’t get anything to happen, no matter how virtuous it may be, that writes off too many sunk costs.

    You can’t stop anything, no matter how good, or how rotten, that enables greater revenues and does not trigger too great of write offs of sunk costs.

    It is the Tao of economics.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “You can’t stop anything, no matter how good, or how rotten, that enables greater revenues and does not trigger too great of write offs of sunk costs.”

    “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

    Newton’s First Law of Motion.

    If I was a GM and had to hire a coach, I’d first ask him if he has read and can comprehend Newton’s Laws of Motion. It is a key essential for realizing how x-axis is far superior to y-axis concerning basketball.

    “Change” in life generally falls into Newton’s Laws even if they aren’t directly associated with physics.

  • @drgnslayr

    Agreed with the caveat that exceptions prove rules. 🙂

Log in to reply