Rooting for Justin McCay
Covering sports you see different players try to overcome various obstacles. A story that appeared this week on KUSpots.com shows why former Oklahoma wide receiver Justin McCay is one of those kids you hope the NCAA shows some mercy.
McCay, a wide receiver from the Kansas City area, was a highly touted recruit. It just didn’t work out for McCay at OU, which has a roster loaded with talented wide receivers.
McCay has transferred to Kansas under new coach Charlie Weis. The question is whether the NCAA “waives” the customary year McCay must sit out so he could play immediately this fall for the Jayhawks.
Having already used his redshirt year, plus seeing limited playing time this past year as a redshirt freshman, McCay is appealing to the NCAA so he doesn’t have to sit out one season. The appeal is McCay would have three years eligibility the next three years, staring with the 2012 season.
Tim Grunhard, a former NFL player with the Kansas City Chiefs who was hired by Weis, was close with McCay, who has a unique story. His father died when he was in high school at Bishop Miege.
“We’re hoping that he can play next year,” Grunhard is quoted in the story. “If you read the story and you read the letter and you read about some of the things he’s gone through in his life, I want to meet the NCAA compliance person that says no to him. Because if you say no to him, then obviously you don’t understand what’s so important to this kid and what a great person he is. We’re hoping it all works out.”
Although Grunhard didn’t provide specific details about the content of McCay’s letter, Grunhard painted a picture of a young man having been through more in his first two decades of life than most people endure during far longer stretches of time.
“He’s had a rough go of it,” Grunhard said. “Here’s a kid that pretty much couch-surfed all through high school and never had a home. His father passed away going into his senior year. He’s down in Oklahoma. He had some family issues. I think he was homesick. He was red-shirted, and he lost that football instinct for a little bit. But he’s the same old Justin being back here.”
The NCAA has to enforce rules to make it fair for all schools. But there are exceptions to every rule. If you know McCay’s story, which I wrote about two summers ago, you would hope the NCAA grants McCay’s “waiver” and he’s allowed to play this fall.
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