Formerly Homeless Baylor RB Silas Nacita Says NCAA Ruled Him Ineligible
After Sports Illustrated profiled Baylor walk-on Silas Nacita ahead of the Cotton Bowl back in December, he immediately became one of the feel-good stories of the 2014 college football season. The kid had a scholarship to play football at Cornell but left after one season to be closer to home. Friends at Baylor said he should try to be a walk-on there. But he had no money for tuition. So he studied at a community college in 2013 to line up some academic scholarships while crashing on friends’ couches. Then, in 2014, he enrolled at Baylor and made the football team—all while homeless.
It was a rags to riches, follow your dreams story. Problem is, it might not be true. At least, not all of it.
This is not a Manti Te’o thing where everything you thought you knew was a lie. Nacita really did have a football scholarship at Cornell, and he really was a walk-on at Baylor. But the part about how he was homeless has holes.
You see, Nacita claimed a “close family friend” didn’t want him to have to crash on couches anymore, so that friend offered to put him up in an apartment. Then he claimed that the NCAA ruled him ineligible because of this.
Here’s his version of the story, which is shared on Twitter:
The thing is, the NCAA says they did not rule him ineligible:
The NCAA did not declare Silas Nacita ineligible and Baylor has not requested a waiver for him.
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) February 25, 2015
It’s Baylor that ruled him ineligible. And there’s no way the person who set Nacita up in an apartment was just a family friend. There is no NCAA rule against a family friend paying your rent—unless that family friend is somehow affiliated with the university.
Sure enough, after people started poking holes in his story, Silas Nacita admitted that the “close family friend” was more of an acquaintance—and that he did not heed the advice from Baylor regarding his housing situation:
Keep in mind, Nacita is no dummy. Two years ago he was going to an Ivy League school, and in 2014 he was academic All-Big 12. It’s unlikely that he just “misunderstood” the rules, as he claims.
What likely happened is that Baylor told him how to solve his housing situation in a way that was within NCAA rules, Nacita didn’t listen to them, and got kicked off the team. Taking things further, if I had to guess, I’d say those “friends” who originally encouraged Nacita to come to Baylor and helped him get an apartment had connections to boosters, which is probably why Baylor ruled him ineligible.
Whatever the case, though, it’s a real bummer. It was such a nice story.
Hat Tip – [Dr. Saturday]