Skip to content

Orlando Sanchez should be the NCAA’s posterboy, not ineligible

Feb 26, 2013, 10:58 AM EDT

orlando-sanchez AP

Orlando Sanchez is the latest in a long line of athletes who have found themselves at the mercy of the NCAA’s archaic and, at times, inane rulebook.

Sanchez is a 24 year old native of the Dominican Republic. He spent the last two years at Monroe Community College. Prior to enrolling at MCC, Sanchez lived a tough life in the Dominican. His parents were so poor that he was sent to live with his Grandparents as a child. After his Grandfather passed away, a 17-year old Sanchez was shipped off to Spain to work as a carpenter with his estranged father to help support his Grandmother.

At 20, he returned to the Dominican and was discovered by a club coach on a local court playing pick-up basketball. He played eight games with that team, and then saw 3:38 seconds of garbage time as a member of the Dominican national team. But since the NCAA views participation on any organized team when 21 or older as costing a year of eligibility, those two teams and the two years at MCC mean that Sanchez has no more college eligibility left.

(I’d strongly recommend you read Dana O’Neil’s feature on Sanchez, as well as Lenn Robbins’ column on him.)

His career, in the NCAA’s eyes, is over.

Which is so incredibly dumb, but not because the NCAA is enforcing their rule.

Look, like it or not, the NCAA has a rule about this kind of thing, and the rule states that Sanchez cannot play. Whether or not you agree with the rule isn’t the argument here; rules are rules, and the NCAA has enough head-scratching rules that Sanchez is far from the only kid that has found himself stuck in eligibility purgatory.

But the difference with Sanchez is that he’s not in college to blaze a trail to the NBA. He’s there to get a degree. He’s there to get his free education so that he can take care of his family back in his home country. He is exactly what the NCAA claims to be about.

He’s the reason that the NCAA refuses to budge from their stance that the athletes that generate billions of dollars with their play on the field or on the court shouldn’t see a dime more than a scholarship. He’s a student-athlete in every sense of the word. If the NCAA was smart, they wouldn’t be crushing his hopes of playing major Division I basketball, they’d be putting him on a pedestal.

There should be features on the front page of the NCAA’s website about him right now. They should use their limitless resources to put together a video package of the Sanchez family’s perseverance and inundate viewers with it during the NCAA tournament. Every single time Mark Emmert — or anyone, for that matter — stands up and defends amateurism, they should be able to point to Sanchez and say, “You see him? That’s why we do things the way we do them.”

He is the posterboy for the NCAA. With all the negativity surrounding the NCAA of late — Miami, Myck Kabongo, calls for Emmert to be fired — you would think the organization could use a bit of good PR.

But they’re pissing it all away because of their need to enforce a rule that Sanchez broke for 218 seconds of garbage time basketball as he was representing his country. It wasn’t playing for a professional team, mind you. He wasn’t getting his pockets lined by agents and runners and AAU coaches.

He was playing for the Dominican national team. Garbage minutes. One game.

Regardless of how the Sanchez situation plays out, regardless of whether or not Sanchez ever sets foot on the court in Carnesecca Arena, Sanchez will be getting his degree from St. John’s. According to O’Neil’s story, he has a 3.48 GPA right now. He will be able to better his life and better the life of his family.

And in the end, that’s really all matters here.

(Image via Martin Mejia/AP)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Oakland head coach Greg Kampe with a unique #icebucketchallenge (VIDEO)

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT

    Greg Kampe AP

    Kampe over came his fear of heights but still got hit with ice water.

  2. The Ray Kasongo saga takes another turn on Wednesday

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

    kasongo

    Ray Kasongo was denied admission from Oregon on July 30, reopening his recruitment.

  3. Northern Illinois unveils its new basketball floor (PHOTO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 8:10 PM EDT

    Twitter/NIUAthletics Twitter/NIUAthletics

    This new court design is interesting to say the least.

  4. Report: Wichita State to play in early season tournaments in 2015, 2016, 2017

    Aug 19, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Take a look at what tournaments the Shockers will appear in over the next few years.

  5. Four-star 2015 guard Jimmy Whitt commits to Arkansas

    Aug 19, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

    Under Armour Under Armour

    Jimmy Whitt is ranked just outside the top 50 in the Class of 2015.

  6. Highlights from the 2014 Nike Global Challenge (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

    Nike EYBL Nike EYBL

    Stephen Zimmerman averaged 17.5 points, 11.5 boards and 2.2 blocks per game in four games at the Nike Global Challenge.

  7. Nicholls State adds the son of a Syracuse legend to their 2014 class

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Nicholls State may have a large, orange-clad fan base these days.

  8. John Calipari on whether Kentucky will use platoons this season: ‘I think so’

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT

    Kentucky Athletics Kentucky Athletics

    It’s how they played through their six games in the Bahamas.

  9. VCU lands a commitment from talented local guard

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

    Nike/Jon Lopez Nike/Jon Lopez

    Shaka Smart brings in a perfect piece and that was a priority recruit.

  10. Photos and videos from Team USA’s trip to West Point

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 12.32.00 PM

    It looks like everyone had a great time.

  11. Short film on an American basketball player in the AFL (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.08.20 AM

    Jason Holmes is a pro athlete in a sport he never heard of.

  12. Mixtape of high-flying 2015 guard Christian James (VIDEO)

    Aug 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    christian james

    Christian James is one of the better dunkers in the 2015 class.

  13. Former Vanderbilt player releasing book exposing sex, drugs and parties in college basketball

    Aug 18, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    kyle fuller Getty Images

    A former Vanderbilt player is hoping to release a book discussing the dirtier side of college basketball.

  14. Ohio State releases non-conference schedule

    Aug 18, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT

    Thad Matta AP

    Ohio State has some interesting games in the non-conference slate.

  15. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery: ‘We have great kids. We don’t have thugs’

    Aug 18, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    Fran McCaffery AP

    Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery defended some of his player’s recent offseason troubles.

  16. Sexual assault lawsuit filed against 2014 NCAA Tournament team, alleging Title IX violations

    Aug 18, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    swilling Getty Images

    Some more disturbing allegations are levied against a 2014 NCAA Tournament team.

  17. College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

    Aug 18, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    (adidas) (adidas)

    This week’s CBT Recruiting Roundup features some thoughts on Noah Dickerson to Florida and a couple of 2015 guards cutting school lists.

  18. Report: There’s ‘a chance’ Georgetown will play Maryland

    Aug 18, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

    John Thompson III AP

    The two programs haven’t played on one another’s home court in two decades.