The NCAA's Confusion Over Black Men's Haircut Preferences May Have Been Behind This Colt's College Suspension
The player's brother feels that the suspension had racial undertones.
July 28, 2017 at 10:54 pm
High school athletes are recruited in droves every year for university NCAA programs.
The organization has strict rules for how its schools run their athletics departments.
One set of rules revolves around what are known as impermissible benefits. These are things that student athletes can't be given or gifted, and include: special treatment, cash and gifts.
This week, the brother of Indiana Colts star Donte Moncrief waded into an impermissible benefits case the NCAA investigated while Moncrief played for the University of Mississippi.
According to SB Nation, the NCAA ruled Moncrief ineligible to play because it suspected he'd received an impermissible benefit.
NCAA officials, after seeing a picture of Moncrief on Instagram behind the wheel of a red 2009 Dodge Challenger, questioned Moncrief because they believed he could not afford the car.
The car, however, was not his. It had been lent to him by his older brother, Spencer Moncrief.
Spencer, a protective older brother, entered the fray, explaining that he was able to pay for the car based on his work as a barber.
The NCAA didn't believe him.
“I’m a grown man,” Spencer said he told the officials. "I’m not a kid. I’m a grown man with a car that I let my brother drive sometimes. I have a degree; why can’t I afford a car? The entire process, I was like dang, because I drive a car, a nice car, I really felt like they were discriminating. Honestly. ‘He’s black, he can’t afford that car.’”
To plead his brother's case, Spencer brought the receipts. Literally.
When the 20 most recent receipts proved to be not enough, Spencer was frustrated even more. The NCAA felt that Spencer's client base, which was around 20 to 30 men, wasn't large enough for him to make payments on a sports car.
“[They] said, ‘Because even 20 guys a month isn’t enough.’ So I asked him if he had any black friends, and he got this look, like shocked. Because in the African American community, you get a haircut every week, not once a month. It’s sometimes 20 guys a week. Some guys get a haircut every five days. They had a hard time believing that, so they wanted me to make a list, and everybody who came and got their haircut would have to sign it."
Finally, after going through the phones of the Moncriefs, the phones of their friends, contacting officials at a hotel Spencer once stayed at and searching through Spencer's bank statements, the NCAA let Donte play again.
The incident has just recently come to light due to unrelated problems that the University is having with the NCAA regarding allegations of cheating by the school's former football coach.
All told, the NCAA has charged the university with 21 counts of wrongdoing. According to SB Nation, the school is currently dealing with a lawsuit related to these charges brought by former coach Houston Nutt.
Whether the Moncrief case develops into a lawsuit remains to be seen; however, for now, the brothers say that they are just happy the incident didn't keep Donte from achieving his NFL dreams.