Less than a year ago, UTEP though it had landed one of its best recruits of all-time in guard Isaac Hamilton, but things have derailed the relationship between the two parties in recent months. However, Hamilton’s pending exile has run into a stumbling block on Friday, and as usual, that stumbling block was the NCAA.
After signing a National Letter of Intent with the UTEP Miners in November, Hamilton asked for his release in order to be closer to his ailing grandmother. There have been several situations in recent years where recruits have been permitted to back out of such commitments for similar circumstances, but in this instance, head coach Tim Floyd blocked the release. Then, it was escalated to the NCAA, and the decision came down on Friday that Hamilton wouldn’t be permitted to play in 2013-2014 at any school other than UTEP.
Back in July (when Floyd was railing against the possible loss of his best recruit), the UTEP head coach was quoted as saying this to ESPN:
"“I’m sorry his grandmother is having health problems, but what I’m doing, I’m doing for UTEP and for everyone else. The NLI is in place so you can field a team. Young people don’t have to sign a national letter of intent. You can sign a scholarship paper. The policy is in place to protect the institutions after they’ve spent all this money in recruiting and built their schedule around and turned down other players.”"
Frankly, I couldn’t disagree more with this stance, and the majority of the public likely shares the same view. Coaches are permitted to freely move about the country without penalty, and in this case, there is a defined reason that Hamilton would have been released. However, the ever-inconsistent NCAA has ruled against him, and that is that.
It appears as if Hamilton will continue to fight against this ruling, and he will likely enroll elsewhere, even if he is forced to sit out a season. My only response for that is “good for you” on behalf of Hamilton, and I wish the young man the best in his quest for a new university.