The NCAA is showing compassion for Karim Sameh Azab.
Imagine the terror you’d feel at being a college student and learning you need to start a battle with leukemia. Now imagine the prospect of starting that battle with your family on the other side of the world. Fortunately, Memphis basketball player Karim Sameh Azab will have his family with him in the United States to help him face his illness.
The NCAA generally isn’t regarded as the warmest organization in sports, but they deserve some real credit on this one. Reports from a Memphis attorney claim the school and college basketball’s governing body worked together to bring Azab’s parents to Tennessee from Egypt.
It’s worth noting that Azab isn’t any sort of star for the Tigers. He was forced to sit out his first season in Memphis due to eligibility issues. Azab did play 15 games for Memphis last year but all of his appearances came from the bench. This is not a player who will bring millions of dollars into the athletic department due to his exploits on the court.
Perhaps that made it easier for the NCAA to step in on his behalf. The organization might have been afraid to show favoritism towards a player who had an NBA future. Azab may have a future in professional basketball but it almost certainly won’t happen in the United States.
This is just the sort of scenario the NCAA’s public relations team should be spending money trying to promote. The organization does a lot of good for its student-athletes but continues to be battered by the public for their perceived lack of caring for young people in need. Much of that reputation is well-deserved, but the case of Azab should go in the NCAA’s win column.
Karim Sameh Azab has a potentially long battle with leukemia ahead of him, but at least he won’t have to face it alone. Credit the NCAA for helping his family come to the United States to help give him the best chance possible at a full recovery.