Last night, Dee Bost caught a major break. The NCAA decided to be preternaturally forgiving: Instead of freezing Bost out of college basketball for his dire NBA draft mistake -- Bost basically said he didn't understand the eligibility rules; few thought this excuse would work -- the NCAA let him come back. He'll serve a nine-game suspension, and then all will be well.
Was the NCAA right? Did Bost deserve to come back to school? Was the decision an intelligent one based in reason and restraint -- everybody makes mistakes -- or a precedent-setting boondoggle destined to make an even bigger mess of early entries to the NBA draft?
The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg predicts more of the latter than the former. Rush The Court thinks the NCAA may be subtly refuting the new NBA draft decision deadline. Others have given up on predicting NCAA decisions. The precedent thing is what interests me most. Will other players use this same excuse in the future? Has an unwieldy door been opened? (If, you know, a door can be unwieldy. Whatever.)
Under normal circumstances, you'd say yes. "Dee Bost did it, so why can't I?" The difference is that Bost's excuse seems too ridiculous to mimic. If another player pulls the same stunt (whether accidentally or on purpose) next summer, and says that he didn't know the rule, is the NCAA going to buy that? Again? Even after forgiving it one time? And if the NCAA doesn't accept that excuse for former players after accepting it for Bost, is it being patently unfair?
This is mostly theoretical noodling; we won't find out what the NCAA thinks until another player suffers a Bost-ian lapse in judgment. When he does -- and with the new May 8 deadline, it's bound to happen again -- the NCAA will have quite a decision, and quite an applicable precedent, on its hands.