At 36, after being paid $97.8 million in the NBA, Jason Terry last week earned an undergraduate degree in Social Behavior and Human Understanding from his alma mater.
Terry, the father of four daughters, was so determined to get his University of Arizona degree that among his final academic credits was an online class in Spanish from Pima College.
That should square the books, don’t you think?
Fourteen years after the old Pac-10 president’s council declared him ineligible to enter the UA Sports Hall of Fame and have his jersey put on display at McKale Center, Terry has done his time.
He repaid the $45,463 in TV money Arizona forfeited from the 1999 NCAA tournament. He admitted he accepted $11,500 from agents Larry Fox and Ndidi Opia while playing for Arizona, and that he broke an NCAA rule by leaving game tickets for Opia under an assumed name during the 1998-99 season.
Yet the Pac-12 has not yet budged on allowing Arizona to put Terry’s jersey No. 31 on display at McKale, or put him in its Hall of Fame. The UA is quietly working to get those long-ago sanctions abolished. All of the Pac-10 presidents who voted to ban Terry 14 years ago are no longer in the league.
The Pac-10 was never consistent with Terry’s punishment. It did not remove his name from the conference record book, as the 1998-99 Player of the Year. What’s more, the league continues to block Terry’s induction into the Pac-12 basketball Hall of Honor, even though that group includes Terry’s UA teammate, Miles Simon, who once (unsuccessfully) sued the University of Arizona for $1 million, claiming it leaked his academic transcripts to a Kansas City newspaper.
A new generation of Pac-12 presidents and Larry Scott’s new league administration should be sensible enough to review Terry’s case and set him free.