Former Nebraska basketball commit/student Roburt Sallie (sophomore) had a terrific day for Memphis. Sallie's 35 points (10/15 3 pt. shots), 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 assist were the ONLY reason the No. 2-seeded Tigers advanced past CS Northridge in the first round of the NCAA tournament today.
I'm never one to dwell on 'what ifs' much. I will, however, always wonder about the jump start that Roburt Sallie would have given Doc Sadler and the Husker basketball program. The way Roburt was shit on (sorry for the lack of a better phrase) by the NCAA and Big XII definitely makes you realize that these kids are just a number in the grand scheme of things.
If your familiarity with how exactly the Roburt Sallie situation went down at Nebraska is a little lacking like mine, then read on about a cross-country trip that no college athlete should ever have to endure again.
Sallie originally committed to Washington in 2005 out of high school, but after he was declared ineligible shortly after, he decided to attend one more year of prep school at the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. Sallie would then commit to Nebraska and coach Barry Collier over schools such as Memphis, Kansas, Maryland, and Wake Forest for the 2006 season.
After arriving on campus at Nebraska, Sallie would become the focal point of a witch-hunt conducted by the NCAA Clearing House. The grades were good. The test scores were good. But where they legit? That's when the NCAA came to a consensus that they needed actual tests and homework papers that he completed while he attended preparatory school. Easy enough, right?
Being the beautiful minds that they are, the NCAA kept his file open and had not come to a decision as August turned to September and classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began. In the meantime, Nebraska was in a coaching turnover with Barry Collier out and Doc Sadler in. However, Sallie still intended on playing ball that winter for coach Sadler, which unfortunately meant that someone ENROLLED him in classes.
Then on September 14th of 2006 and several weeks after classes began, the NCAA finally came to a decision and told Sallie that he would indeed not be academically eligible to play at Nebraska. From there, Sallie would leave Nebraska and head to the City College of San Francisco and would not play basketball at all in the 2006-7 season.
In the 2007-8 season at the City College of San Francisco, the 6-5 combo guard would average 17 points/game and lead the school to a 24-7 record all while being named the 'California Community College Player of the Year.' On November 12th of 2007, Sallie would recommit to the Huskers and Doc Sadler. Said Sallie, "the program at Nebraska is going nowhere but up, and I want to be a part of it."
All that Roburt Sallie had to do now was finish up his associate's degree, which he was on track to earn in the summer of 2008, and return to Nebraska for his remaining three years of eligibility. That's when the NCAA decided to step back in and stop this madness.
After further review on June 4th of 2008, the NCAA found a big, big problem. Sallie was found to be in violation of Big 12 Conference Rule 6.2 which states "that any student-athlete who enrolls at a conference institution, part-time or full time, must meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements." Apparently, he should have just been permitted to attend classes and not actually enrolled in classes. Since Sallie did not meet these requirements when he first enrolled at Nebraska, it prevented him competing for the Cornhuskers or any other Big 12 school. Three separate appeals by Sallie and his attorney were been denied by the NCAA and the Big 12.
The rest is history as he ended up at Memphis over Kentucky, Maryland, and Cincinnati. Sallie has been playing around 15 minutes a game during Memphis' run this year and has been averaging only 4.5 ppg. However, his star is on the rise on a team full of NBA talent and with two years remaining, expect to hear much more. And if today's game is any indication of how good this young man will be, then watch out and don't get to get too sick about it.
It's a terrible shame that a kid would have to go through these extraordinary lengths only to be turned down for his efforts time and time again. For THREE years he kept true to his word and busted his tail in the classroom in order to become a Husker. I'm not sure exactly if this was a mishap because of a coaching turnover that involved the stupidity of an administrator or not, but hopefully no other kid has to ever go through something like this again.
Nobody has had a tougher road than Roburt Sallie to get to where he is now. He will deserve every accolade that he will get the rest of this season and beyond. And if there is a silver lining to this whole situation for Roburt, it's the girls. Memphis girls are smokeshows.