Oakland's Jalen Hayes, who averaged 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds last season, is two games through an NCAA-administered four-game suspension that lacks common sense and compassion. I've written about it before. But, if you missed that column, here's the deal: Hayes is a human resources development major who is on track to graduate in December. And yet the NCAA initially ruled him academically ineligible for this fall semester because, according to NCAA rules, he "failed to make satisfactory progress toward a degree" in the past year. Again, Hayes is on track to graduate in December. But the NCAA's rules, as written, insist he's not making "satisfactory progress toward a degree." And it's because the 6-foot-7 forward received a 2.5 grade in a class last spring, which led to Oakland not giving him credit for the class because the school requires students to have at least a 2.8 to get credit in Hayes' major. When Hayes failed to get that credit, even though he didn't fail the class, he dropped below the 18 hours the NCAA requires student-athletes to complete between the start of fall classes and spring commencement. So the NCAA ruled him academically ineligible for the fall semester -- essentially because Oakland, unlike some universities, actually holds its student-athletes to real standards. Naturally, Oakland appealed to the NCAA. Its argument was simple and basically that it's crazy to rule Hayes ineligible for "failing to make satisfactory progress toward a degree" when he is actually progressing so well he's on track to graduate in December of his senior season with a 2.9 GPA. The NCAA heard the appeal and dropped the suspension to four games, which is better. But what sense does it make to punish a player at all, for any games, who chose to pursue a real major, and is about to graduate, simply because he got caught by a technicality that obviously shouldn't apply to him? That's the question I asked in a column last month. Nobody has provided a satisfactory answer. Regardless, Hayes remains suspended. He's already missed Oakland's wins over Fort Wayne and New Orleans. He's now set to miss Saturday's game with Toledo and Monday's game at Syracuse. All the while, Hayes has mostly stayed quiet on the matter. But he's now decided to speak up and speak out. So I conducted a Q&A with him via email Friday afternoon.
Oakland’s Jalen Hayes speaks out, calls his NCAA-administered suspension ‘ridiculous’
CBS Sports | Nov 18