Attending class teaches a hard lesson

Posted: October 31, 2017 at 2:05 a.m.

The NCAA ruled North Carolina State freshman Braxton Beverly ineligible for the 2017-2018 season after he transferred from Ohio State, where he took summer school classes before coach Thad Matta was fired over the summer.

The NCAA has thrown away the chance to reverse one of its most nonsensical decisions.

North Carolina State announced Monday that its appeal to gain immediate eligibility for freshman Braxton Beverly has been denied.

Days after the revelation earlier this month that North Carolina would avoid any punishment for years of gross academic fraud, the NCAA penalized a player from one of the Tar Heels' chief rivals for actually going to class. It ruled that Beverly must sit out the entire 2017-2018 season because the four-star point guard attended a few weeks of summer classes at Ohio State before withdrawing from the school in June and transferring to NC State in July.

Beverly left Ohio State days after the Buckeyes abruptly fired coach Thad Matta in June. Even though Beverly hadn't played a single game for Ohio State, the NCAA viewed him as a freshman transfer instead of an incoming prospect since he already had enrolled in classes.

In a statement released the day of the initial ruling, Beverly described the NCAA's decision as "incredibly unfair" and expressed hope it would be overturned on appeal. The NCAA has a history of going strictly by the rule book on its initial decisions only to take common sense into account during the appeals process, usually after a firestorm of negative publicity.

This time there was no reversal, no leniency and not a hint of common sense. The NCAA upheld its decision to punish Beverly for having the gall to attend summer classes before electing to transfer after the entire coaching staff who recruited him was fired without warning.

"Disappointed would be an understatement for how I feel for Braxton," North Carolina State Coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement Monday. "He's devastated. This is a situation where adults failed a young man and he's paying the price."

The Beverly decision bolsters the argument that the NCAA's system of punishment is in need of a complete overhaul. If a system allows you to punish Beverly for going to class but prevents you from penalizing North Carolina for the worst case of systemic academic fraud in college sports history, then that system is hopelessly flawed.

Call me 'Bazz'

Sometimes it's just time for a change.

This is apparently why Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad has decided it is time for him to make a somewhat curious change. From Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

"The Timberwolves' newly remodeled Target Center locker room designed to impress both current players and future free agents alike arranges lockers circularly. Each includes a lighted plate bearing the player's first and last name.

"Except for one: Reserve forward Shabazz Muhammad's just reads 'Bazz' for a reason.

"Muhammad said before Friday's 119-116 victory over Oklahoma City that he intends to legally change his name to just the short, single nickname.

" 'I just like it," he said. "Everybody calls me that anyway." '

Who can blame the man for simplifying life?

Bazz -- who already has the appropriate Instagram name on lock -- says he's not sure how involved the process of legally changing one's name is, or how long it will take for him to get announced as just Bazz. But he is determined to go through with it.

SPORTS TRIVIA

Where did Shabazz Muhammad play college basketball?

ANSWER

Muhammad played one season (2012-2013) with the UCLA Bruins

Sports on 10/31/2017