I read a new theory on the Ater Majok saga yesterday — not saying that it’s true, but it was interesting nonetheless.
The question was: Is Majok leaving UConn voluntarily because he wants to play professionally overseas, or has UConn realized during the course of the investigation that he will be caught up in recruiting violations, and will therefore be ineligible?
At the time of the original allegations, there were suggestions that improprieties had occurred during Majok’s recruitment.
This would be a huge issue for Connecticut — in addition to losing Majok, the Huskies would almost certainly have to forfeit games won last year after Majok joined the team. More importantly, it might up the punishment that will be imposed by the NCAA should they find the Huskies guilty — it would now be two players involved (Majok and Nate Miles), and Connecticut would not be able to hang their hats on “he never played for the Huskies”.
I went back to the Courant article and reread the quotes by Jim Calhoun and Majok, and neither of them refute this theory.
According to the quote by Calhoun:
‘ “We’re talking to Ater about his future, yeah,” Calhoun said. “That’s all I can say.
He hasn’t made any decision yet, but he could certainly go back and play in the Australian professional league. Nothing’s been determined yet, but there’s a chance that kind of thing could happen.” ‘
The Courant had this to say about Majok:
‘ At just past 3 a.m. Thursday, Majok posted the following on his Twitter page: “life can take unexpected turns.. there is nothing i can do about it all i can do is keep my head up and keep working hard…” ‘
When I read that the first time, it sounded like resignation from someone who was being forced to leave, but I assumed from the tone of the Courant article that it was a family situation that was forcing him to earn money. But now that I reread it in a different context, the “…all i can do is keep my head up and keep working hard…” has more of the flavor of someone that’s getting kicked out.
Calhoun’s quote is a bit more ambiguous. He says that Majok ‘hasn’t made any decisions yet’, which seems to imply that this has been initiated by Majok. But the rest of his quote leaves open the possibility that Majok will leave based on what UConn decides in their response to NCAA, and that his decisions may only have to do with what he does after he leaves.
Adding to all this is the fact that Majok declared for the NBA draft in 2009, before he ever played for the Huskies, but shortly after the Yahoo story was published that revealed the allegations against UConn. As I said earlier, Majok’s name had come in rumors at the time the allegations were released, and there was speculation that Majok was declaring for the draft because he knew there were issues.
Finally, yesterday I questioned the timing of what I assumed is Majok’s decision. It seems a bit odd to make this decision right before the beginning of the school year, instead of at the end of the previous season. However, we’re now about a week before the UConn response to the allegations, which is due within a week. It could be that Connecticut has decided that the program needs to take decisive action, and that removing Majok from the program, for minor or not so minor issues, will demonstrate to the NCAA that they are taking the issues seriously.
All of the speculation should be cleared up with the Huskies’ response to the NCAA, due on September 3rd.