Washington was the Spartans’ leading scorer last season
San Jose State basketball will be without Richard Washington after the NCAA handed down a season-long suspension
Richard Washington Jr., one of the few bright spots for San Jose State over the past two years, has been suspended for the entire season by the NCAA, according to a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
The NCAA has hit San Jose State’s Richard Washington with a season-long suspension, he told @Stadium. His coach was fired after last year, the school didn’t have a compliance director and Washington signed with a non-certified agent and also playing in the 3×3 event in Indy.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 21, 2021
Washington, a 6-6 guard, tested the NBA Draft waters this offseason, but ultimately decided to return to school and use the free year of eligibility offered by the NCAA. However, when the sport’s governing body learned that Washington signed with a non-certified agent and played in an unsanctioned 3-on-3 event for profit, they took action.
Many prominent basketball people are already taking umbrage with the NCAA’s reported decision. Some, like ESPN’s Jay Bilas, Field of 68’s Rob Dauster and Verbal Commits’ Brandon Goble, called out the spirit behind the ruling.
Because, as it always tells us, the NCAA is all about the welfare of the “student athlete.” Too bad this player wasn’t caught up in the FBI probe…he’d be 37 years old by the time the NCAA addressed the matter. https://t.co/3XZ0CwPILg
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) September 21, 2021
I absolutely despise rulings like this. I hate that the default is “prove why we should let you play” as opposed to “let’s work to find a solution to help the kid.”
Given the circumstances, is this really worth suspending him for the entire year? That seems excessive. https://t.co/JFVxEHEdnI
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) September 21, 2021
This is an absolute joke. The NCAA continues to show its tone deafness to the actual mission they purport to uphold.
Out of touch administrators making random and harmful decisions with no empathy to context or circumstance.
They should be ashamed of themselves. https://t.co/UWsiv2OvFb
— JUCOadvocate (@JUCOadvocate) September 21, 2021
Others, like Mountain West Wire writer Sean Paul, wondered whether the suspension should be shortened. He compared Washington’s situation to that of former BYU star Yoeli Childs, who received an infamous nine-game suspension for violations relating to improper paperwork.
The NCAA definitely should reverse this. Give him the same amount of games Yoeli Childs had, and let him play from there. https://t.co/FiGpT4A2Nl
— Sean Paul (@Sean02MTM) September 21, 2021
Washington himself told Goodman that he would be more understanding of a suspension for the early part of the season, but that losing a full year felt like a punishment that did not fit the crime.
“I understand there are rules,” Washington said, “but I don’t feel as though I deserve a season-long suspension. It’s a bit extreme.”
The SJSU athletic department reportedly did not have a compliance officer during the offseason, and following the firing of former head coach Jean Prioleau, Washington is dismayed that he did not have anyone to turn to for advice during an especially confusing pre-draft period.
“I had no guidance,” Washington said, according to Goodman’s report. “I made a mistake, but there was no one to educate me on the draft process.”
The senior, who is pursuing a business certificate at SJSU, averaged 19.5 points per game last season to lead the Spartans in scoring. Had he returned to the lineup, he would have given new head coach Tim Miles a proven option on the wing; instead, while Washington will remain in school and appeal the decision, there is a chance he won’t see the floor again.
The Spartans were already something of an enigma coming into the season, with the team’s identity still to be determined as a new coach and a new batch of transfers enter the landscape. The specter of Washington’s suspension (and the ensuing appeal process) casts a dark cloud over what has been an otherwise successful summer for San Jose State.
Andrew Dieckhoff is a USBWA member covering college basketball for Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Heat Check CBB. He is also the creator of The DPI Gradebook presented by Heat Check CBB. Andy currently resides in Portland, Oregon.