Last month, the NCAA wanted you to believe that Baylor basketball’s Perry Jones was a bad person. As the national media hammered the nation’s most corrupt organization for another unconscionable ruling, the NCAA put out multiple releases attempting to tarnish a kid whose mother once accepted a few short-term loans, which she promptly and fully repaid.
They suspended Jones at the last moment so he could not play in the Big 12 tournament, for all practical purposes ended Baylor’s season, and then denied his appeal. They figured Jones was gone to the NBA; after all, they wanted you to believe he was a money-hungry kid that did not belong on the college level.
Yes, the NCAA still wants you to live in its fantasy world where we are to believe that Perry Jones, and his ignorance of a few technical rules about “accepting benefits” is worse than a father openly shopping his son on the market for $200,000. A world where Jones’s alleged benefit was a few hundred dollars less than the “benefit” John Wall received a few years ago, but Wall was allowed to join his powerful, money-making Kentucky team after a quick, 2 game suspension while Perry has to sit out a total of 6 games. This is the NCAA fantasy world, where they often remind you every case is different.
Unfortunately for the NCAA, Perry Jones played the ultimate trump card on Monday. He turned down the NBA and the quick cash windfall that comes with it. Hear that NCAA? He turned down millions for himself and his family to play your amateur sport, and oh by the way, he’ll likely contribute to your million dollar revenue streams.
Perry’s mother and father were right alongside Perry as he made his announcement to return, the same people who inadvertently contributed to Perry’s suspension by the NCAA. Terri Jones, Perry’s mother had this to say “I just want to say that it has been a tough decision, but we wanted to do what is best for Perry as far as life is concerned. [We] did take time to think about it with no outside influences. His decision was solely based on how he felt as a man. I am really proud of him for making this decision and I am just here to support him.”
Knowing Perry and his track record, he will quietly serve out the remainder of his 6 game suspension. He won’t note the hypocrisy of the NCAA that was most aptly noted by Joe Nocera in a New York Times piece last week. A system where a millionaire coach gets to have his suspension deferred so he can go win a national championship or a millionaire program in Ohio is allowed to have its star players compete in a corrupt bowl system, while a phenom freshman from a school that is not as much of a money-maker for the system is forced to start his suspension immediately and miss post-season games.
This is a young man who last week was more upset about making a poor grade on a school essay than he was that he was struggling with a life-changing decision. A kid who celebrated his decision with his teammates by going on a paintball outing: coaches and managers vs. the team. A kid who prayed about his decision, and who said he felt God leading him to come back to school for another year.
Yep NCAA, sounds like a bad kid. Thank goodness you nailed him (heavy sarcasm intended). Too bad you failed to ever find out what kind of person Perry really was. But you will have your chance next year. Perry and the Baylor Bears plan to play in your tournament, whether you like it or not.