New York Times reports Kanter was paid by Turkish team



The New York Times reported Tuesday that UK freshman Enes Kanter received about $100,000 in cash and benefits over a period of three years from the Turkish professional team he played for, citing the general manager of the team.

The general manager of the Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker, Nedim Karakas, told the Times the team provided housing to Kanter and his family for more than three years, provided them with food and pocket money, and paid Kanter a monthly salary during his final season.

In the article, Karakas said the team supplied the NCAA — which is still reviewing Kanter’s status — with banking and housing records that could put Kanter’s status in jeopardy.

Karakas declined to provide records of the payment to reporters for the Times article.

The salary is the potential deal-breaker regarding Kanter’s ability to play for UK this season. Karakas said the club gave Kanter, who did not sign a contract with the team, an initial payment of $19,800 and monthly payments of $6,500 during Kanter’s final season with the team. NCAA rules allow professional teams to pay for some necessary expenses, such as housing and food — rules similar to college scholarships — and still retain eligibility.

Fenerbahce would benefit should Kanter be ruled ineligible to play for UK. If Kanter played for a different professional team in Europe, Fenerbahce would be entitled to a transfer fee. Karakas told the Times the motives behind providing the NCAA with documentation was simply a matter of telling the truth.

UK released the following statement in an e-mail Tuesday night in response to the Times article: “The University of Kentucky is working diligently with the NCAA on this matter and we fully support Enes Kanter and his family through this ongoing NCAA review. We will have no further comment.”

Kanter, a 6-foot-11 center regarded as the centerpiece of UK’s current recruiting class, did not make UK’s exhibition trip to Canada because he had not been cleared at the time.

During a book signing earlier Tuesday — before the Times article was published — UK head coach John Calipari told Sporting News he expected to know the decision regarding Kanter’s status within 10 to 14 days.

The only other center on UK’s 2010-11 roster is senior Josh Harrellson, who averaged 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4 minutes per game last year. The only other players listed at 6-foot-8 or above are freshman forward Terrence Jones and junior forward Eloy Vargas.