As a follow up to an earlier article, “Do the right thing NCAA,” I had written about the Oakland University basketball player, Isaiah Brock, an Army veteran who was declared ineligible to play. Brock has been cleared to play by the NCAA initial eligibility committee.
Oakland University was forced to make an appeal on Isaiah’s behalf because the NCAA had declared him ineligible earlier this year. He was declared ineligible because of his below-qualifying grades from when he graduated from a Baltimore high school in 2011.
Immediately after graduation, he joined the United States Army and his job was taking dead soldiers from the battlefield and preparing them to have honorable burials. While Brock was stationed in the war zone, college basketball coaches made a trip to Kuwait for a week of activities with several Army soldiers participating in drills and games.
That is when the Oakland University basketball coach and Isaiah crossed paths. They talked about him attending college once his enlistment was up because he had grown from 6’ tall at graduation from high school to 6’8” before his enlistment ended. Oakland’s coach said he would welcome him into his program if he wanted to come there for school.
After this meeting Isaiah took a couple of courses while on active duty and received A’s in the courses. Once he was released from active duty he went to Oakland’s campus in the summer and enrolled in two more classes. He passed those with an A and a B. The NCAA decided for his initial eligibility that they would have to go by his high school transcripts from 2011 when he graduated and not the most current transcripts from the two colleges he attended.
I want to applaud the NCAA for doing the right thing and allowing this military veteran the opportunity to continue his academics and also to participate with the universities basketball program. As a retired military member myself, I salute you!
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