The cold, cruel truth about the exit of former Marshall point guard Kareem Canty is this: It probably didn't matter whether he received his release Friday, back in March or not at all.
Not to take the school's athletic department off the hook. Far from it.
When a three-person student affairs panel overturned the decision to deny Canty his release, the New York native became free to pursue a transfer elsewhere.
Yes, the decision was sensible and just, but Canty would have enjoyed the same privilege on May 13, or thereabouts. In other words, at the end of MU's spring semester.
Remember, scholarships run for a single academic year, then must be renewed. Or not renewed, as happened a time or three in the Tom Herrion era.
That goes the other way — if Canty wanted to cut his ties next month, he wouldn't have had to ask anybody. I think he's talented enough that his stock wouldn't have been hurt by waiting.
(Go ahead and tell me NCAA bylaws prohibited other schools from contacting Canty before Friday. I can always use a good laugh.)
Now, I'm not sure what the heck ol' No. 1 wants to do. He’ll have to pull off a “hardship” transfer to a Division I school, or else he will be sitting out for the second year in three. I don't know about you, but if I were fortunate enough to be able to play college basketball, I would like to actually play.
Canty might need a year in junior college if he abandoned his academics this semester. If so, a two-year degree brings him back to D-I and he comes to his new home without rust.
I am reminded that Canty can't stay in one place for long. He attended four different high schools or prep schools in his twisty road to Marshall, a journey that throws a bunch of red flags.
Could the next Herd basketball coach kindly let somebody else take these vagabonds?
In the meantime, MU fans have to realize there is collateral damage in a coaching change, especially when the search for a new one stretches into the NHL playoffs.
(I get it. MU athletic director Mike Hamrick is secretly waiting for Dan Bylsma to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to another Stanley Cup before scooping him up. I'm in.)
Canty should have been let loose in March. The pending signees should be released upon request. It's not mandated by the NCAA, but it's the right thing to do.
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And so is this, at least where Marshall is concerned: Honor your season-ticket holders.
Take Saturday's officiated scrimmage, for example. Attendance was limited to Big Green Scholarship Foundation members and MU students.
Season-ticket holders? They were begged to join the Big Green like everybody else, but otherwise were not welcome.
Correctly, Hamrick has made Big Green membership a major point of emphasis, and it costs $50 to join the cause. If you sit in certain places in the football stadium and basketball arena, you'll have to make a minimum Big Green donation. (As I understand, a $300 donation, a silly $100 "assessment" and a regular sideline ticket price get you one of the crappiest chairback seats in all of college football.)
No problem there.
But in the effort to beef up the Big Green, Marshall shouldn't turn a cold shoulder on season-ticket buyers who, for whatever reason, do not donate further. Football patrons, especially — in a stadium that is 50 percent larger than the week-to-week fan base, there is room to accommodate all.
I mean, the souls who scrape up enough change for a home slate that includes Gardner-Webb or Rhode Island should at least carry the same clout as a $50 donor, right? And those who do it year after year after year should be honored, allowed to keep their seats and allowed to attend a spring scrimmage.
Shoot, if you can prove you bought season tickets every year from 1976-79, you should get 50-yard-line seats in a plush recliner with Hamrick in his old No. 92 jersey personally serving comped Thunder Dogs.
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Some of the more interesting highlights from Marshall’s spring practice:
n Armonze Daniel, the defensive end possibly making his last attempt at the two-deep, recorded two tag “sacks,” which consist of simply tagging the quarterback in any intrasquad practice. In the upset of the day, he beat stud offensive tackle Clint Van Horn on one instance.
n For a “hit of the day” award, I’ll go with Arnold Blackmon’s rodeo slam of running back Steward Butler. It had the look of a horse-collar foul, but Blackmon one-handed Butler across the torso.
n Walk-on receiver Peter Helow should be given the video of his stiff-arm to the helmet of safety Corie Wilson
n Kudos for center Cam Dees, who returned from a long absence and took some snaps.
n In an apparent attempt at dark humor, the Herd continues to practice rugby punts, the only kicking strategy worse than pooch kickoffs.
Just say no, Doc Holliday. I beg you.
Contact Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.