Jamar Samuels did not play for the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday after a last-minute eligibility issue popped up. The issue reportedly did not relate to academics or discipline, leading many to wonder why, exactly, Samuel was hastily rendered ineligible just minutes before the Wildcats' Third Round matchup with Syracuse on Sunday.
According to Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Austin Meek, the eligibility problem may have stemmed from benefits given to Samuel by DC Assault founder Curtis Malone.
Malone, reached by phone, acknowledged sending money before NCAA Tournament. "Yeah, I did," he said. "Yeah, I did." Malone didn't believe gift represented an impermissible benefit because of his pre-existing relationship with Samuels and his mother. "There hasn't been anything extravagant or large lumps," Malone said. "I don't just give a kid money ..." "It's the same way when he played with DC Assault on road trips," Malone said. "When he didn't have money to eat, he ate." Story later.
On one hand, it seems cut and dried. If Malone did send money, as a gift or otherwise, there would sure seem to be some kind of NCAA violation. On the other, if Malone did have a pre-existing relationship, there might be more to the story.
Syracuse knocked the Wildcats out of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Samuels is a senior, so it's unclear what, if any, effect this may have going forward.
Edit: Jeff Goodman reports it was a $200 wire transfer.
Jamar Samuels was suspended by Kansas State for a $200 wire transfer on Monday from his AAU coach Curtis Malone.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) March 17, 2012