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Hamilton Not Coming, Floyd Not Budging, Press Not Buying: UTEP Fans Stuck in the Middle [OPINION]

Isaac Hamilton takes a shot at the McDonald’s All-American game last April. PHOTO: Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

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That sound you hear is the air coming out of the UTEP basketball program’s balloon.

The Miners probably wouldn’t tell us how many season ticket holders they gained because of un-coming freshman Isaac Hamilton and the other golden children in UTEP’s Top-10 recruiting class even if they could; but it was probably sizable or head coach Tim Floyd would never have told the El Paso Times, “People have bought season tickets based on our having Isaac.”

Which brings us to the other noise you’re hearing:

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That is the sound of the national media taking Floyd to task. An upset coach’s words, uploaded and conscripted into the flame war over the NCAA’s definition of amateurism. The national media immediately sounded off: the kid can’t earn a dime but the program can openly talk about making money off of him? Hypocrisy!

For Miners fans, the fur may be flying in the national press’ jet stream overhead, but the bottom line is this: Isaac Hamilton isn’t coming to UTEP.

And that leaves fans here singing along with this classic:

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Yeah, tell us something we don’t know. Everybody has a point to make, but none of them help Miners fans, not even Floyd’s.

Say all you want about college athletic departments making money off of indentured servants masquerading as students; that applies less and less to schools like UTEP, marginalized by conference shakeups and unfavorable geography. Miners coaches and administrators make less than one-tenth the salary of their BCS counterparts.

Whether Floyd holds Hamilton or his former school, USC, responsible for the kid’s flip-flop, not releasing Hamilton from his Letter of Intent ends up sounding a little snarky. For whatever the reason — grandmother’s health, change of heart, USC sending the Song Girls to hang out on his block — he won’t be enrolling at UTEP.

Isaac Hamilton bears a bit of responsibility in this matter, too, but he’s a teenager. Regular students who have a change of heart can enroll wherever they want, but not college jocks. The school can release you but not the other way around — not fair.

That said, not every kid gets a full ride. Books, tuition, room and board aren’t cheap and schools don’t hand scholarships out lightly. The timing of Hamilton’s request to be released from his LOI is bad, leaving the Miners to deal with a hole on the roster this fall. Not that Tim Floyd has ever worried too much about that.

But couple Hamilton’s wanting out with Andre Spight and Jacob Thomas being academically ineligible, and…

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We’ll see if fans still feel like they want to “come on down” this season.

WITHOUT ISAAC HAMILTON WHAT WILL UTEP BASKETBALL TEAM LOOK LIKE?

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