The NCAA announced today that a Wake Forest baseball player who received a kidney from his coach will be suspended indefinitely. The coach will also be punished.
"This is as grievous a case as we have ever seen," said NCAA president Mark Emmert, of the kidney transplant that saved the player's life. "Getting an iPod or some cash or a car is one thing. But I think we can all agree that giving a player a kidney is far more valuable. This is a shameful day for everyone involved."
The player, a freshman outfielder, is expected to be suspended by the NCAA for the entire upcoming season. Or, since he will likely not be healthy enough to play, for all of next season.
"I don't want him to get off easy for this," said Emmert. "He will not be allowed to serve his suspension while he's in the hospital for however long it takes to recover from a kidney transplant. Which I imagine is quite a long time."
In a statement the ill Wake Forest player said he regretted running afoul of NCAA rules, but felt that the risk of a year-long suspension might be worth not dying decades early. "I may not agree with them, but the rules are the rules," he said. "I am learning that now."
And while the NCAA says its decision is final, that has not stopped the organization's critics from taking shots at it. Many have pointed to the NCAA's continued hypocrisy and contradictions in its punishments — most notably the Auburn and Ohio State football incidents this past season, as well as Alabama head football coach Nick Saban receiving no punishment for having the kidney removed of a highly-touted recruit who threatened to sign with an SEC rival.
The NCAA has not yet decided if it will require the Wake Forest player to return the kidney.