Dorial Green-Beckham Can’t Play Football for a Year?

Dorial-Green-BeckhamI’ve been railing against the unjust system the NCAA has created in many posts over the years and now I’ve got another one to write. The NCAA has done something that I find not merely reprehensible but clearly illegal. I’m not a lawyer so this is merely a layman’s opinion.

So what has the NCAA done this time?

A fellow by the name of Dorial Green-Beckham was one of the mostly highly recruited high school athletes in the nation and it was a huge win for my Missouri Tigers when the agreed to attend the University of Missouri. He had two very productive seasons at Missouri and near the end of last year was particularly good. There were incredibly high hopes that he might be one of the best wide receivers in the nation this coming season.

He had several off field incidents which involved criminal activity and personal inadequacies. Such star players normally get multiple chances when lesser athletes would not and Green-Beckham was given these extra opportunities. He failed to pull himself together and eventually the University of Missouri kicked him off the football team. The NCAA has rules that sophomores are not allowed to enter into the NFL draft (I’ll save my objection to that for another day) and so he had to find somewhere to play his third season for before becoming eligible for the NFL.

The Oklahoma Sooners agreed to give him a scholarship and he joined the team. The NCAA has a transfer rule which says that if a player leaves one top-level school to go somewhere else they must sit out for a full season. I personally think even this rule borders on illegality. It equates to a non-compete clause in your contract where you must not take a job within a certain distance of your current job or with a competitor. The legality of these non-competes has been tested and they rarely stand up.

In this case Green-Beckham did not voluntarily leave the University of Missouri. He was kicked off the team. I can’t believe there is a non-compete in the world that would stand up if you were fired from your job. Once you’ve been fired you should be able to proceed in any direction you desire. I can possibly see a situation where someone behaves atrociously in the hopes of getting fired to avoid a non-compete but that’s not the case here. Beckham was happy at Missouri and not looking to transfer. He was kicked off.

However, the NCAA has decided that despite the fact that Green-Beckham was involuntarily removed from the team he is still subject to the transfer rule and must sit out a season. I’m no fan of Green-Beckham. He’s a good player but his behavior has been reprehensible, particularly those parts that were not criminal. I don’t want to get into that because it’s not part of the equation. He was fired from his job and the NCAA is insisting that his non-compete still applies.

I honestly don’t understand how any entity can prevent you from doing anything you want after you were fired from your current position. I’m shaking my head. I’m completely baffled. This can’t be legal, can it? Any lawyers out there that can help me out?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
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