The NCAA should do the right thing when it comes to declaring former Army member Isaiah Brock ineligible to play. This young man served his country honorably as a mortuary affairs specialist. When he graduated from high school he was 6’ feet tall and did not grow to his 6’ 8” frame until he joined the Army. His job was to go out into the battlefield and retrieve soldiers that had died in action. He and his troops would process their remains, search their belongings, search through their body, and annotate all their wounds and everything that happened up until their death.
While stationed in Kuwait, a group of college basketball coaches went over to coach the troops for a week to allow them some time away from the war zone. That’s when he met Coach Kampe from Oakland University. In a conversation, Isaiah told Coach Kampe that he wanted to attend college with his GI Bill once he finished his enlistment. The coach told him he would be more than happy to allow him to be part of his program once he returned to the states.
Shortly after the coach left, Isaiah took a Psychology and Math class through the University of Maryland while in Afghanistan. He then took the ACT qualifying test for college and made a qualifying score for acceptance into Oakland University. When he arrived at Oakland University in the summer he took two more courses and received two B’s in those courses.
When he arrived in the summer he was technically a nonqualifier to get financial assistance for him to be able to practice and for him to be able to compete. The waiver that the school applied for on his behalf with the NCAA was based in totality of his circumstances, his life story, that he warranted relief from the typical NCAA legislation. This was due to his military service, and due to his performance in a high school environment that wasn’t conducive to college preparedness. Also the fact that he had already completed 12 credits of college coursework.
Oakland expected the NCAA to understand and they did not. They reverted back to his high school transcript and declared him ineligible. Of course, Oakland University is going to appeal this travesty in hopes that the NCAA would use some common sense in the matter. Why on Earth the NCAA would go back in time five years and use his high school transcript to make their justification is beyond me. Especially sense he has a qualifying ACT score and a 3.0 or better grade point average with the four college courses he has already taken. They say it’s because that is the last official transcript available. I am sure the two universities he attended could produce a transcript to show his academic progress. Please wake up and allow common sense to prevail when you receive his appeal.
By Dr. Bret Simmermacher
Dr. Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org