It's a strange world we live in.
A day after LeBron James revealed that his 10-year-old son is already getting scholarship offers from college, news has come out that Baylor running back Silas Nacita will no longer be able to play football just because he spent a few days at his friend's place.
The two cases are at the opposite ends of NCAA's spectrum but that's exactly what's needed to make the point.
Nacita – a fan favorite with the Bears – achieved his lifelong dream to play college football against incredible odds. He fell on hard times when his mother disowned him (for reasons irrelevant), but his passion for the game was so strong that he kept his focus.
He couldn't afford books, so he studied pictures taken from library books. To keep himself afloat, Nacita worked part-time as a waiter. In fact, per a Sports Illustrated story, he was homeless at one point and famously slept in a ditch for a night. Seeing his hand-to-mouth situation, a friend offered to let him crash at his place, which Nacita did – and that's basically his entire crime.
NCAA has rules in place that prohibits its athletes from taking impermissible benefits, and as per their logic, taking shelter at a friend's home when you have no other place to go is an impermissible benefit.
Nacita revealed his story himself, with this tweet, which soon went viral:
All I wanted to do was go to school and play the game I loved. pic.twitter.com/zYQ0HTaz05— Silas Nacita (@Salsa_Nacho) February 25, 2015
NCAA has since come out to deny that they have declared him ineligible, although Baylor's athletic director Ian McCaw was firm that the RB has played his final game for the Bears.
Some have doubted Nacita's version of the story too, but if he really committed a bigger violation than just sharing his friend's abode, then why hasn't it come out by now in the face of media pressure? So far, neither NCAA nor Baylor has a firm explanation for why Nacita's football dream is over.
They probably don't care for the wellbeing of athletes who earn the system multi-billion dollar deals. They do, however, care enough about LeBron's fourth-grader because that brings them press, more money and whatnot. The NFL gets a lot of pushback for the way it runs, but NCAA – that's an even bigger mess.