On a teleconference today, Rick Barnes was described by Texas sportwriters as "visibly frustrated" at the NCAA's indecision regarding Myck Kabongo's eligibility. Barnes has no idea why the NCAA has yet to rule, nor when a ruling is forthcoming. Per ESPN's William Wilkerson, Barnes had this to say on the call today ($):
"It is getting to the point, honestly, where I made the point to a friend of mine we are at the end of the term. If we don't hear something in the next couple of days, 'frustrating,' 'disappointing,' whatever word you want to put on it it's time."
Kabongo did not travel with the team to either New York or Houston, where the Texas Longhorns lost to Georgetown and UCLA, respectively. The Longhorns are now 5-4, facing a season dangerously close to being lost. An earlier expectation that Texas would receive some sort of notification prior to (and then following) its Maui trip sounds hopelessly foolhardy in retrospect.
Looking ahead, it appears that Texas is relegated to hoping that the NCAA gives Kabongo a 10-game ban, with the sophomore point guard eligible to return to play against North Carolina on December 19. But with that game just over a week away, I wouldn't advise holding your breath awaiting news.
The silver lining--if you could even call it that--is that the national media has taken even more notice. ESPN's Andy Katz reported the inactivity prior to the Georgetown game, and also contributed a sideline report in-game.
If Kabongo has to sit 10 games, then let it be known. If he's done for the season or anything more severe, then announce that as well. The workout was in May. The suspension is ongoing into December, but it officially hasn't started since Kabongo is being held out while the investigation continues.
In the Georgetown broadcast, announcer Jay Bilas vocally chastised the NCAA for its handling of Kabongo's case. Bilas followed up his dress-down with a cheeky tweet.
Then earlier this week, Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis asked NCAA President Mark Emmert why the case hadn't been finalized. Emmert predictably side-stepped the questions, though he did insinuate that the compliance office was awaiting further information, possibly withheld:
"It's not in our interest to have this drag out," he said, "but it's never the case that people [at the NCAA] sit on all this information, dilly dallying around from August to October, waiting for just the right time to determine whether somebody is going to sit or not. That's not how it works. Sometimes people aren't as forthcoming with the information. I don't mean they're being deceitful, but they're not providing you stuff as readily as you'd like to settle those cases. It's like tax day. I gotta file my taxes, better hurry up and do this. Well, it's time to play, so I better hurry up and give them the information they were looking for. So we get a flood of information at the end."
Uhh, sure, Mark. You tow that company line.
The bottom line is that no news is bad news for Kabongo and the rest of the Longhorns basketball team. Without a decision, the young Texas squad keeps waiting for a savior that might never come--or come too late. Unfortunately, even Rick Barnes feels that there's no end in sight.