This is my third installment on the developing story about the once honored Oregon Duck Jeremiah Masoli’s fall from grace. As you may recall, Masoli transferred to Ole Priss—I mean, Ole Miss—after being relieved of duty after a pathetic pot possession charge. Of course, being caught with pot was his second offense; he first pleaded guilty to robbery charges.
In my last report, I acknowledged his achievement and thought his move to a graduate program commendable, especially because it allowed him to continue playing football, a sport that has no doubt been a positive influence on his life, despite his law-breaking handicap. However, the latest news put a damper on his plan. Apparently, the NCAA didn’t find his move as honorable as I did; they have denied his request for a waiver, which makes him ineligible to play this upcoming season. Unless an appeal goes through, Masoli will not be able to play until the 2011 season.
The sports bloggers have been in frenzy ever since the word got out. There is a debate among them. Some agree with the NCAA who denied his appeal because they see his move to Ole Miss as a way of dodging the consequences of his actions rather than for purely academic purposes. In other words, they are attacking his intentions! They are presuming to know his mental states. They are doing almost the exact opposite of what Merrit, Effron and Monin (2010) found with regards to positive behavior. When people are seen as acting honorably in the past, they receive a “get out of jail free” card, so to speak, on future grievances. On the other hand, the NCAA, I believe, are letting the knowledge of Masoli’s previous grievance behavior cloud their judgment.
We can assume of course—as the NCAA does—that Masoli made the move only so he could play football again, which may be his true intentions. But are the NCAA or we the Thought Police? Are we going to punish Masoli for his intentions or his actions? Masoli completed his undergraduate degree and is pursuing a graduate degree in a field not offered by the U-of-O (that’s what we call the University of Oregon back home), which should be grounds for eligibility—period! This is the cold hard fact of the case. And while the little devil in me wants Masoli to sit-out a year for screwing-over the Ducks, and because of my newfound hatred for Ole Miss fans, my reasonable side thinks it is unfair and that he should be allowed to play. What do you think? Should Masoli continue to be punished for his passed sins or should the NCAA look at the application alone and stop making inferences about the man’s true intentions or other mental states? What do you think?