CSUN men’s basketball former center player, Olalekan Ajayi, said he didn’t play in the last three games of the season because he skipped two days of class.
Ajayi, who was banned from competing by the Athletics Department, said he skipped class during this spring semester to demonstrate his frustration over an administrative error he says was made by the department over the summer term.
“I was enrolled in the wrong class,” Ajayi said.
According to Ajayi the athletics department enrolled him the course.
Ajayi reached out to Athletic Director Brandon Martin to help fix the error but the change to the class roster was never made.
“He told me he would fix it,” Ajayi said.
He said he met with Martin three times, before spring semester and one of those was a meeting in which Martin walked out on him. Ajayi said he has emailed Martin several times without response.
“I’ve never seen an A.D. [Athletic Director] like this, in terms of handling [academic] situations. It’s sad,” Ajayi said.
The department could not comment on the specifics of the case citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
His ban from playing in the last three games of the season was announced on Feb. 25 by Amy Millstone, associate athletic director, strategic communications for CSUN athletics.
Ajayi addressed the fact when Millstone speaks on behalf of the athletic department, saying she may say it is because of “academic obligation.”
Millstone said the ban was caused by a violation of team and university policy and referred to the university’s core principles.
“I don’t know what partition of this code of conduct is; academic, them failing to fix my class..or maybe missing two classes is the partition of these codes and that’s why,” Ajayi said.
Since attending CSUN, Ajayi has never missed a class until he decided to miss two classes in protest. He was then told that was the reason for his suspension.
With the hundreds of athletes that participate in intercollegiate athletics at CSUN, Ajayi said he cannot be the only one who has missed class and is perplexed that this would be the reason for his suspension.
Not playing the last three games of the season meant Ajayi could not experience playing on senior night and was unable to help his teammates in their final games of the season, he said.
“Me playing would have helped my team,” Ajayi said. “But me getting suspended because I missed class, that’s a shame.”
Ajayi continues to attend his classes and said the way academics are run in the athletics department needs to change. He said it’s what leads to unsuccessful seasons, and staff members like head coach Reggie Theus are not at fault, but the upper division of athletics is.
“Basketball has been having academic issue[s] for a while now. I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a reason for that,”Ajayi said.