In light of the NCAA’s rejection of Sam Cassell Jr.’s last-ditch appeal to retain his eligibility at the University of Maryland, his father, former NBA star and current Washington Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell Sr., had critical words for the NCAA.
“The NCAA couldn’t go after Notre Dame Prep. My son didn’t do nothing wrong,” Cassell Sr. told The Post’s Michael Lee on Friday. “He did everything that was required of him at the school. He is in summer school and they wait until August to say they aren’t accepting the courses. Why not do it a little earlier? He would’ve had more options than he has now. But he’s a strong individual. He’ll be fine. He just won’t be attending Maryland.”
A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Post that Cassell Jr. had not enrolled in the fall semester at Maryland, which leaves his options open for enrolling at another school. The NCAA deemed Cassell Jr. a “non-qualifier” in mid-August after reviewing the core classes he took at Notre Dame Prep, rejected a waiver filed by Maryland and, within the past 24 hours, rejected an appeal filed on Cassell’s behalf.
Cassell Sr. said that his son has not decided on the next move. In an earlier report by CBSSports.com, Cassell Sr. was quoted as calling the NCAA “neighborhood bullies” for its action, a term he reiterated to The Post.
“They are the neighborhood bullies,” he said. “Everybody got bosses except the NCAA. It’s so ironic. Everybody got somebody to answer to, but the NCAA. I’m not here to bash them. It ain’t worth all that, but that’s my opinion. Who beat up the neighborhood bully? No one.
“But he’s got to move on and find where he’s going to soon. And if he gets drafted to the pros like I did, he can tell the NCAA how he really feels.”
A “disappointed” Cassell Sr. said he was not surprised by the ruling, given the perception that the NCAA is really “after Notre Dame Prep, so they are going to hurt the kids that go to Notre Dame Prep.”
However, Cassell Sr. expressed confidence that, whatever the next move, his son will rebound.
“That’s why he’s a Cassell,” said Cassell Sr., who was ruled ineligible out of high school and spent two years at San Jacinto College before playing at Florida State for his junior and senior seasons and then playing in the NBA for 15 seasons. “That’s why he’s a Cassell. I took this route. I had to wait to showcase my talents to the NBA. So he’s got to wait.”