Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news Friday afternoon that Iowa State recruit, Richard Amardi had been released from his letter of intent and would not be joining the Cyclones for the '13-'14 season. Amardi would have had one year of eligibility and at 6'9", figured to be a big part of the front court rotation.
ISU fans immediately began to speculate as to why Amardi wouldn't be joining the team. According to Hines' story, it sounds as if Amardi's scholarship offer was pulled and given instead to Marshall transfer, DeAndre Kane. Other theories suggest that Amardi, a native Canadian, had grown tired of the lack of poutine on American menus and will be returning to his native land to taste that sweet gravy goodness once again. As is often the case, there's probably some truth in both scenarios.
But what if Amardi's predicament was actually brought on by his own doing? Sources have informed WRNL that Amardi's scholarship was not pulled by Iowa State, but instead, Amardi mistakenly voted himself out of his scholarship via a 4-person, no talking after scenario. Let me explain...
When ISU signed Kane a little over a week ago, it left the Cyclones with 14 players on the roster, but only 13 available scholarships. Coach Fred Hoiberg met with Kane, Amardi, Bubu Palo and Abdel Nader and informed them that one of them would need to either choose to be a walk-on or Hoiberg would grant them their release and help them find another school to play for. The four players decided that the best way to settle the issue was to hold a vote where they would each cast a vote for who they thought didn't deserve the scholarship, with the only rule being that whomever was voted out, could not speak a word and had to leave immediately.
Initially, there was lobbying from each player, pleading his case on why he deserved a scholarship. Palo claimed that he had already been a walk-on and as an Ames native and senior, he deserved it. Kane pointed out that he gave the Cyclones the best shot at making the NCAA tournament and would see to it that he got the ball to his teammates. Nader simply said that it was a matter of financial difficulty and he needed that scholarship as he wouldn't be able to afford school without it. Amardi went for the emotional appeal and said that he would be deported to Canada if he wasn't working or attending school.
Each player made a convincing argument and Amardi, thinking that he had Kane and Nader on his side, initiated a coup to see to it that Palo didn't get the scholarship. The problem however, was that Kane and Nader didn't have the heart to tell Amardi that they actually wanted him out and decided to act like they were going along with Amardi's plan.
Not wanting to blitz Palo with a 3-1 vote, Amardi devised a plan where he would vote for himself, while Kane and Nader voted for Palo. Amardi was sure that Palo was going to vote for Kane as he was the latest addition to the team and effectively could be costing Palo his scholarship. What Amardi didn't know, however, was that Palo is a noted leader of the anti-Canadian student group, Americans For A Better North America (Palo only accepted Melvin Ejim and Naz Long as teammates once they renounced their Canadian roots). Nader on the other hand decided to cast his vote for Amardi solely because as a fellow big man, he wanted to make sure he got the biggest pair of practice shorts available. Kane was originally going to vote for Palo, but after a trip to Burger King in Amardi's car, where Kane was forced to listen to Amardi's favorite Canadian musician, 90's rapper "Snow", Kane dreaded the thought of "Informer" on repeat for the next year and had made up his mind to cast his vote for Amardi.
So the day of the vote came and Amardi voted himself out as planned, but was shocked when ballots showed that Amardi had been voted off scholarship by a surprising, 4-0 count. According to the source, Amardi tried to get some answers and plead his case for a re-vote, but had to honor the no-talking-after rule of the vote.
Our source has never been wrong in the past on these behind the scenes issues, so WRNL feels fairly confident that this is how the scenario played out. Keep this in mind when someone tries to argue differently. In the mean time, WRNL will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.