Champions of The Round Table

Courtney Upshaw (41) and Alfy Hill (13)
As many sites have reported, Alfy Hill is no longer eligible to play football for Alabama in 2010. After being declared eligible by the NCAA clearinghouse, enrolling in the University and completing course work in which he received the grades of B, B, and A, Alfy Hill is now declared ineligible to attend the University of Alabama.

This is a failure on many levels, but is in no way attributable to Alfy Hill. Hill is a victim of the system of public education and the lack of appropriate assessment by the NCAA. The refocus of the NCAA deals with two classes, one of which Hill completed as a sophomore.

Hill was only attending this particular class because he had broken his hand and could not participate in the assigned physical education class at New Brunswick High. If he had completed the physical education class without incident, this class would not be an issue.

Really! How many times have you seen anyone fail a physical education class? Had he attended the physical education class he clearly would have been given credit for the class and the NCAA would not have an issue for any course work completed during his high school sophomore year.

Instead, Hill chose to take a class in which he had to physically be present on the New Brunswick campus, the school had approved as acceptable course work for graduation at the high school, and he had to complete and pass a test in order to get credit.

Moreover, the class was an online class taken with the schools approval, in a school classroom, with other high school students. The school allowed this online computer class of their choosing because they did not have the resources to offer the class in any other way to the students of New Brunswick High.

Coach Nick Saban
What's even more ridiculous, is that the class was not new to the New Brunswick curriculum. It had been offered as many as 300 times in the past to students, according to Coach Fletcher, and there had never been an issue taken with the credibility of the curriculum. Why now?

According to reports, the Alabama compliance director, Mike Ward, has been in contact with the NCAA clearinghouse, along with New Brunswick High School football Coach Jimmy Fletcher, for more than 30-40 conversations over the past few weeks.

Since the ruling, a repeal of a previous eligibility clearance, the NCAA is no longer fielding their personal calls.

At some level, this will end up in a legal battle. Unfortunately, Alfy Hill is a victim of the system and will suffer the consequences. He has no other option at this point except to complete course work at a junior college to meet the standards for the NCAA. As to why his passing grades at the University of Alabama are not enough of an indication that Hill is more than qualified, there is no answer.

The NCAA and New Brunswick High administrations have some explaining to do to this young man and his family. They are effecting the life and dreams of a young man who has played by the rules and did things the right way. And for that, he gets slapped and thrown to the curb.

According to reports available, never before had a Hill family member attended college. Alfy is the first. That accomplishment now has been marred by this ridiculous event, but Mr. Hill will press on and do what needs to be done to be successful and fulfill his college dreams.

Nick Saban indicated in a statement released yesterday that Alfy Hill will always be welcome to return to the University of Alabama when the smoke clears and the issues have been laid to rest. In a comment to the media, Saban said he "feels horrible for Alfy." "He will be successful academically in college," Saban said.

Regarding the specific situation, Saban added: “I think we just have to be real consistent with what the rules and standards are,” Saban said. “You can’t allow a guy to take courses that when he takes them, he feels like they’re OK, and then they’re not OK. That’s just not fair. I’m not saying that anybody did anything wrong intentionally, I’m just saying it needs to be clearly defined so that everybody understands what needs to be done — the high schools, the counselors, the principals, the coaches, the college coaches and everybody else. And you can’t change the rules halfway across the stream. It needs to be consistent.”

This is an outrage! An outrage on many levels. It is a blatant disregard for the student athlete by the NCAA and the public school system of New Brunswick, North Carolina. Once again, it points out that the student is a pawn in the larger picture of college athletics.

There have been comments that this wouldn't hurt Hill in the long run, he was likely to redshirt in 2010, anyway. To those who make such idiotic statements consider the following:

Hill was enrolled in college. He is no longer able to attend, even after passing three classes over the summer.

Hill had practiced with the team for nearly four weeks, in fall camp and was learning the system installed by the Alabama coaching staff. While it is possible that he may have redshirted, he still would have been able to practice with his team and learn valuable lessons from the Alabama coaching staff that would put him way ahead of the curve for next years competition in the spring and fall. He now must begin at square one if he is able to make in back in 2011.

This is a blow to his dream of attending the University of his choosing and to play for the coach he has prepared for for an entire year. This is a dream crusher. It will take months to get past the anguish caused by the NCAA.

This move by the NCAA could end up costing this young man millions of dollars in career earnings. Had he been able to play now he could be eligible for an NFL contract in three years. This move by the NCAA could stall that by a year or more. Attorneys with the players interest at heart should pounce on this angle and go after the NCAA clearinghouse.

Never again should a fan or observer of the college sport ever suggest that a player is being self centered or only looking out for his own interests when they leave early for a chance to land a lucrative contract in professional sports.

Plain and simple, no one else is looking out for them, he or she better look out for themselves and take the best opportunity for their future career.

Remember the best love is to love others unconditionally rather than make demands on them.


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