On Friday we learned that UConn freshman Ryan Boatright was going to be held out of games indefinitely because the NCAA was once again looking into allegations that he received improper benefits during his AAU career (benefits that predated his relationship with UConn). The fact that the NCAA is investigating Boatright isn't necessarily a problem, after all, investigations like this are (nominally) why the NCAA exists. What is a problem is that the NCAA investigated these same claims prior to the season and already suspended Boatright for six games, so the fact that Boatright is once again being held out indefinitely makes it feel like Boatright is being jerked around in a double-jeopardy situation.
On Friday I used the technical term "bullshit" to describe my feelings on the matter, and that feels more accurate than ever after two reports surfaced this weekend, both naming an estranged ex-boyfriend of Boatright's mother as the source that spurred the NCAA's action. The Chicago Sun Times got Jaeh Thomas, a cousin of Boatright's father to go on the record about the tipster (who also happens to be a cousin of Boatright's father):
"We know exactly who it is," Thomas said, identifying the source providing information to the NCAA that led to the review as a former boyfriend of Tanesha Boatright.
"What the NCAA needs to get through their head is, it's her ex-boyfriend, who also happens to be his dad's first cousin. Both families have pushed him out."
Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post published a similar story the next day, but added some more details, :
The man who provided the information had a court case against Tanesha Boatright, a source said, and is "doing whatever he can to get back at her. It has little to do with Ryan."
The obvious caveat here is that Thomas is obviously going to take Boatright's side and Duffy's source also appears to be in the freshman's corner, and since the NCAA won't comment until after the investigation, we're only getting one side of the story. Still, these reports don't make the NCAA or the investigation look any better.
It's also worth noting the timing of the reopened investigation. UConn learned of the situation on Friday, they day before Boatright was set to play before some 400 family and friends who had made the trip from Chicago to South Bend. If this really isn't about Boatright and is instead the unfortunate byproduct of a bad relationship, then this would be the perfect time for a malicious tipster to not just hurt Boatright, but hurt his family as well.
But that damage is done and the question now for Boatright, and for UConn, is if and when he'll be allowed to return to the court. With luck the NCAA will wrap this up soon (ha!) and then maybe Boatright will be able to put it behind him for good.