NCAA cites precedent in benching MSU’s Zeidaks

By Brad Locke | NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Case precedent weighed heavily in the NCAA’s decision to suspend Mississippi State’s Kristers Zeidaks for a year-plus, according to recently released documents.
Amateurism guidelines were also cited, but in the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff’s rationale sent to MSU, several previous cases were used to justify the decision. Zeidaks, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Latvia, must sit out this entire season plus the first 11 games of the 2012-13 season.
Coach Rick Stansbury confirmed Wednesday that Ziedaks plans to remain at MSU and suit up when he becomes eligible.
never signed contract
In its appeal, MSU claimed the NCAA’s decision was “inappropriate and wholly unfair” and disagreed with the NCAA’s view of a registration form signed by Zeidaks. He played with a professional team in Latvia during the 2008-09 season but never signed an actual contract.
In fact, the club – Barons/LMT Riga – wrote a letter saying that Zeidaks never signed a contract for them so that his amateurism status could remain intact. The NCAA agrees that Zeidaks never received a stipend or salary, and he only received $240 in “actual and necessary expenses,” which he must repay to a charity of his choice.
The NCAA said permanent ineligibility is the normal punishment in this kind of case, but since he did not sign a formal contract, Zeidaks’ amateurism can be restored.
Zeidaks played in a total of 16 games for two teams over two seasons – 14 with the Barons, and two scrimmages with an Italian junior team. MSU argued that this experience did not give Zeidaks any significant advantage.
brad.locke@journalinc.com