Explained by J.R. Smith: What NCAA means for college golf eligibility Ex-NBA players could be affected by amateurism rules

J.R. Smith plans to enroll in college and he hopes to be a college-level athlete.

Smith (35), played 16 NBA seasons and is now aiming to be a college golfer. Smith, 35, became a keen golfer in his NBA years and hopes to play for North Carolina A&T’s male golf team.

C.J. and Chris made a North Carolina connection. [Paul] was there,” Smith said of making N.C. A&T his college destination, per John Dell of the Winston-Salem Journal. Then, I had to determine if my eligibility was still valid.

Smith, who was a former professional athlete, is still waiting for a determination on his eligibility.

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Can J.R. Smith compete in NCAA golf?

Although the NCAA has not yet made a decision, Smith and N.C. A&T appear to be confident that he will become eligible. Richard Watkins, Aggies coach, said Smith played professional basketball but never attended college. Therefore, Smith may still be eligible for college sports.

Watkins stated that it is not often for someone in this position to have the opportunity to accomplish such a feat and be able move forward in that direction. He is a former professional athlete but it was a unique set of circumstances that he did not go to college after high school. He never got his (eligibility clock) started.”

Smith, in fact, was draft out of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, Newark, N.J. in 2004. Smith was drafted 18th by the New Orleans Hornets in 2004. He didn’t have college eligibility for basketball or any other sports. He is satisfied with that one.

Smith’s eligibility time is not the issue. This issue is likely to be more connected with the principle of amateurism, which the NCAA continues to adhere.

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NCAA eligibility rules and Amateurism Rules,

The NCAA will be investigating whether Smith is eligible to be called an amateur. There are numerous activities in which Smith has participated that would potentially prevent him from receiving a final amateurism certificate from the NCAA.

Some of the fundamental pillars that make amateurism work are now obsolete due to recent NIL laws (name, image and likeness). It is now possible for athletes to receive funds to promote products. Smith wouldn’t need to be concerned about any of his endorsement agreements. Smith will still need to worry about other things in his pursuit of college athletics.

Smith signed an agreement with an agent previously. That is against the NCAA’s bylaws, as is receiving benefits from an agent. He also has received compensation from his club teams, which the NCAA only allows if “payments do not exceed costs for the individual to participate on the team.” This rule only applies to high school athletes. The NCAA may not view Smith’s case in a different way.

All of Smith’s breaches of amateurism principles were a direct result of his NBA playing career. And as ESPN notes, NCAA bylaws allow pro athletes to participate in college sports so long as they’re not the sports in which the athlete was a pro.

NCAA regulations state that an individual cannot be allowed to compete in intercollegiate athletics in any sport in which the person has ever been a member of a professional team. However, the law does not prohibit a former professional athlete from participating in another sport.

Smith could claim that he is an amateur golfer, and therefore should be permitted to play in college. This will be likely to be Smith’s argument to win his eligibility.

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J.R. Smith’s career in golf, including his handicap

Smith, an accomplished golfer, got his start in Moses Malone’s charity tournament in 2009. Per Bleacher Report, Smith was just tagging along with Rashard Lewis before Malone had him hit the ball.

Smith replied, “Then Moses was like, “Get your ans out of that cart and play,” Smith stated. So I went out and hit it like 300 yards from the center. It was that simple; my first hit. Even the exact same form that I use right now was used.

Smith started playing regularly since that time and is now very skilled. Smith has a handicap of 5, which is a rating that allows him to score 5 or more on every course.

He has made friends with pros such as Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Keegan Brady while on the golf course. He’s participated in several pro-am tournaments including this year’s Wyndham Champion in Greensboro (N.C.), where N.C. A&T can be found. On Wednesday, he was at the event when he declared his intent to play for the Aggies.

It’s now up to the NCAA whether he will be allowed. Smith would love to play a sport that allows him “just to have fun”.

“Golf is one of those games that has you feeling really high and or can bring you down to your knees and humble you,” Smith said, per PGATour.com’s Helen Ross. It’s a great feeling to know that I’m in control of all aspects of the game. I’m not dependent on other players passing the ball or receiving passes. I’m free to play the game I want and have fun.

Publiated at Thu, 12 August 2021 02:15.01 +0000

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