If I was a real reporter, this would probably be a lot easier to have written and maybe more importantly figured out when to post. I’m not Jon Rothstein. I’m not Jeff Goodman. I’m not even Tony Paul. I’m just a fan from a mid-major school who most in the college basketball landscape don’t care about. And why should they care about the 206th-ranked team according to KenPom rankings and 23rd-ranked league?
Here’s why. The Oakland and Green Bay game has either just tipped off on ESPN+ or is about to, depending on when you see this. Nobody outside of Oakland, Green Bay and some potentially sick-in-the head Horizon League fans are watching. Those that are watching and are familiar with the teams, especially Oakland, will see something different.
Running the point tonight for Oakland is the Cleveland State transfer Rashad Williams. Yes, Rashad Williams, who I have been campaigning for the NCAA to clear for months, has actually been freed. How did things get there? That’s really a conversation for the NCAA, and one they won’t have publicly, I am sure.
The NCAA cleared a few players earlier this week, and Williams was one of them. How an organization can deny a player, deny his appeal, and then suddenly say, “Okay, you can play now!” is a bit beyond me. This was a player with a sick parent, who transferred before things got crazy at CSU.
Many other players from Cleveland State’s long list of transfers were cleared months ago for their new team. Yet, Williams has sat quietly, staying ready in case this day came.
Williams playing for Oakland changes the entire team. They have been plagued by bad point guard play and a lack of shooting from three to keep teams from collapsing on their bigs. He solves both of those problems.
He’s been working with the team in practice and in open gyms with former NBA players while the team is on the road. Tonight, he puts on the Oakland jersey after a rollercoaster ride. Hopefully it brings the results Oakland and their fans expected.
The reality is this case in particular puts even bigger holes in the NCAA and the transfer portal. We all know something must be done. It is now beyond a flawed system. It’s simply broken. I hope the Williams story and what it took for him to get to the court this year is picked up by bigger writers. It deserves to be.
I doubt anyone from Oakland is going to want to discuss it further. They want to take the “victory” and go home. I get it. However, this is a bigger deal than Oakland and Rashad Williams. This is the quintessential story of the NCAA making up rules as they go and further losing control over college athletics.