Joe Giglio wrote a great profile of NC State linebacker Ty Linton, who is not a typical first-year college football player. Linton had been set to attend UNC out of high school and play both football and baseball, but he opted instead to take a $1.25 million signing bonus from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who'd selected him in the 14th round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
Baseball didn't work out--he was cut last year--leading him back to the football field and, eventually, to NC State. Despite the fact that Linton never played for UNC, the ACC ruled he's an intra-conference transfer, costing him a year of eligibility. State appealed the initial decision, and it's one of those things that seems like such a no-brainer issue, I don't understand why that should even have been necessary. Stupid won, as it often does in college athletics, though. UNC was on Team Stupid.
N.C. State made its case, arguing Linton had committed to UNC under a different coach and that was four years ago, and he never played for the Tar Heels.
To the disappointment of Linton, UNC made a case against Linton getting the waiver to N.C. State.
Linton's father said he and his son knew going in to the ACC process that getting the waiver was a 50-50 proposition, but "we didn't know the severity of the challenge would be there from Carolina."
Linton did enroll at UNC out of high school and took some summer courses--FOUR YEARS AGO, mind you--then left for pro baseball. It is ridiculous that he could still be categorized as an intra-conference transfer so many years removed from college. Never underestimate the amount of legislative BS that exists in college athletics, I guess.
Linton wasn't going to play in 2014 anyway--an ACL tear ended any hope of that. He might play one year and decide his heart's not in it. The lost year of eligibility may never prove a hindrance to his career. Who knows. That's not really the point.
And ultimately this isn't about UNC; Linton's already over it anyhow. Yeah, it was a petty thing to do, but it's something they can do, without anybody batting an eye about it. The whole enterprise is so twisted that a bunch of by-the-letter pedants get to answer every challenge to what's on paper by shrugging and saying "rules are rules" all the while lacking any sense of proportion. That's normal because little about the NCAA's cultivated universe is sane.
The spirit of something like the ACC's intra-conference transfer rule, that I can understand. Seems like the people in a position to make decisions one way or another always forget about that nagging bit, though.
Here a bunch of grown-ass men came together for reasons that hardly seem worth the effort and confirmed one ruling, when a ruling to the contrary would have had zero negative impact on anybody involved. Many of these same people will gladly explain to you--preferably at a press conference--how concerned they are about the welfare of student-athletes.
This stuff shouldn't make me angry anymore, but whenever it pops up, whether it's at the NCAA level or not, I'm like
I need to start jousting with grills for therapeutic reasons.