I like to think that in the world of UConn fandom I might have a just the slightest ability to make a tiny influence on someone out there. But I've got nothing on New York Times columnist Joe Nocera who has actual big boy, real world influence. Influence that he used today to take up the cause of Ryan Boatright. He didn't use our favorite adjective for the suspension (The Grey Lady thinks it's above printing "bullshit") but he did just about everything else.
Here's a highlight:
Like most sports fans, I had always assumed that if an athlete was sanctioned by the N.C.A.A., he must have done something wrong. I don't assume that anymore. Many N.C.A.A. infractions consist of actions that most people would consider perfectly appropriate - and entirely legal - but that the N.C.A.A. has chosen to criminalize. Today's case in point: the ongoing N.C.A.A. harassment - there is no other word for it - of Ryan Boatright, a basketball player at the University of Connecticut.
But more than just make Boatright's case, Nocera unearthed some new information about just why Boatright has been suspended. Get ready to get angry:
Surely, Boatright must have done something awful to merit that kind of punishment, right? In fact, he did nothing at all. It was his mother who had violated N.C.A.A. rules. Her crime was looking out for her son.
Like any parent would, she wanted to visit the schools her son was considering. But under N.C.A.A. rules, the universities recruiting Ryan are only allowed to pay his way, not hers. So she got the money from an old friend, Reggie Rose, an A.A.U. coach in Aurora and the older brother of Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls star. Boatright played for Rose during his last two years of high school, but his mother had known Rose well before then. That airfare is the "impermissible benefit."
He also has a bit more information on Tanesha's ex who, not surprisingly, once "[saw] Ryan as his big ticket" and is now extracting revenge.
Boatright's story is outrageous enough that Nocera couldn't fit it all into today's column, but he's promised to continue it on Tuesday, when he will (presumably) focus on the current suspension and the way it was handed down. I can't wait.