The NCAA almost never does its athletes any favors. It did a small-college football player a big favor recently, though … just not on purpose.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles signed an undrafted rookie offensive tackle named Michael Bamiro out of Stony Brook. Ordinarily, that’s not earth-shaking news, not even less than a week before training camp. The reason Bamiro wasn’t drafted, though, was extraordinary.
It’s because the NCAA ruled Bamiro ineligible for the 2013 season, what he thought was to be his senior year.
That ruling came just four months before the season was to begin.
After the NFL draft.
And too late to enter the supplemental draft.
To make a long, typically NCAA story short, Bamiro’s freshman season of 2008 was counted against him – even though he attended what amounted to a community college, the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville campus, and did not play any sport. He left after one year, enrolled at Stony Brook, had to sit out a redshirt year, played three years, graduated with a journalism degree and planned to play this season as a graduate student.
That, apparently, was the last thing the powers-that-be in college athletics wanted. They ruled his eligibility exhausted in May, and his and his school’s appeal was denied last week. So he scrambled to put together a workout for NFL scouts. Reportedly, 20 teams showed up. The Eagles signed him – essentially, a year before any franchise thought he’d be available.
Bamiro is raw and didn’t face the competition the swarm of tackles drafted early in the first round in April did. But teams figured he’d be worth grooming, nurturing and steering toward a lofty goal.
The NCAA didn’t think such a thing was worth it. Not the governing body supposedly dedicated to education. Pushing an accomplished student-athlete out early with unexpectedly limited options – if that doesn’t mesh with the NCAA’s mandate, nothing does.
Here is what ESPN said about Bamiro last week – discussion of him starts at the 55-second mark.