Three games of pick-up ball will prevent Nathan Harries from making his college debut this Friday.
Harries, a freshman at Colgate, has been ruled ineligible for this season by the NCAA after participating as a substitute in a recreational church basketball league, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
NCAA rules state that players who do not enroll in college within a year of graduating from high school risk losing a year a of eligibility of they participate in any organized athletic competition. Harries graduated from Centennial High School in Roswell, Ga., in 2011, but he chose to serve a two-year Mormon mission before attending college, making his participation in a church league a technical violation of NCAA regulations.
The ruling is drawing criticism, however, as the Journal-Constitution reports that the league Harries played in was hardly structured competition.
“In truth, Harries actually was just a fill-in for three games for a “C” level team in a relative church basketball league,” the newspaper writes. “Most players are in their 30s; one team is largely comprised of players in their 50s.”
“It’s like an old man’s league — I could play in it,” Harries’ father, Michael Harries, said.
“Some of the rulings that come from the NCAA don’t make sense,” the elder Harries continued. “Johnny Manziel gets a half-game suspension for signing autographs. A guy plays three games in a church league, and he loses a year. Obviously there’s a difference between big-time athletes and small-time athletes with the NCAA.”
Harries’ application for a waiver was denied by the NCAA on Oct. 21, but Colgate has since filed an appeal on his behalf.
Thumbnail photo via Facebook/Colgate Raiders Men’s Basketball