Arizona Wildcats guard Allonzo Trier (35) slams home a breakaway dunk over Arizona Wildcats guard Kobi Simmons (2) during the second half of the University of Arizona Wildcats Red-Blue Game on Oct. 14, 2016, at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

So much has changed, so little has changed.

When Miles Simon was about to play his junior season at Arizona, leading to the 1997 NCAA championship, he was academically ineligible for the fall semester. It was news THIS BIG in Tucson.

Whatever he wanted to say, Lute Olson was muted. While asked frequently about Simon's possible return, Olson would invariably say that federal "FERPA" laws prohibited him from talking about Simon. Olson would often apply the FERPA rules — which protect the privacy of a student's educational records — to any player eligibility situation, even when it didn't apply.

Now it's Sean Miller's turn. He is unable to speak publicly about whether sophomore forward Allonzo Trier is eligible to play in the regular season. UA athletic director Greg Byrne also declined to speak about Trier on Friday night. Obviously, something's up.

College athletes are now protected from prying eyes to the point of being in the Witness Protection Program. Access and insight is limited because of a proliferation of untrained website "media" people.

A year ago, it was Elliott Pitts. This year Allonzo Trier. If there is any good to this entanglement, it's that Trier plays on the wing, the most replaceable position in college basketball.

Sports columnist for the Arizona Daily Star.