There's still a chance Kamberlyn Lamer competes in the heptathlon at the national outdoor track meet later this week.
NAIA officials told The Daily Republic that a second appeal has been made and that the National Coordinating Committee will make a determination Tuesday on Lamer's status. The event includes sprinting, throwing and jumping events over a two-day span, and Lamer is the top-ranked competitor in the NAIA.
Earlier this month, the NAIA's National Administrative Council denied Lamer from entering the heptathlon at the national meet because her coach failed to fill out the online registration during a short four-hour window on May 13.
We hope the National Coordinating Committee allows Lamer to compete. She's a senior and she's already won a national championship earlier this year in a similar multi-event competition. Lamer deserves to be there, and the National Coordinating Committee can make that happen. The NAIA said the National Coordinating Committee is made up of nine members - including athletic directors, conference commissioners, athletic trainers, and faculty athletic representatives. Two of the nine also serve on the National Administrative Council executive committee and will be recused from voting due to their participation in the original appeal.
The seven people voting Tuesday can fix a bad blunder by outgoing track coach Zach Lurz and Dakota Wesleyan University.
The NAIA's registration window is small, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
But this was a bad mistake by Lurz and DWU's athletic administration, and it is a bad look for the college overall.
The school cited a new email system as the main culprit for the mistake. DWU said the NAIA's registration reminder email went into a spam folder, so the deadline came and went without Lamer getting her name on the list.
The school may also point blame at Lurz, whose resignation was announced by the school in April, effective June 30. Certainly it was Lurz who let Lamer down the most as it is his job to fill out the registration. The four-hour window to sign up athletes for the national meet is the same process for the outdoor season as the indoor season.
But the school shouldn't make Lurz the scapegoat simply because he's on his way out. The athletic administration should have acted as a safety net to ensure all of DWU's athletes were properly signed up on time.
This wasn't just an oversight and an email error. It was ineptitude.
Perhaps, though, some good can come from this Tuesday. Maybe a senior student-athlete can get a chance to compete one last time to win a national title. Maybe DWU's athletic department will learn from this and ensure it never happens again.
The NAIA's National Coordinating Committee can fix a horrible situation for Lamer. The association touts its five character traits, one of which includes integrity, to emphasize to students and its institutions. While the rules state the registration deadline was missed, this would be a moment for the NAIA to show its strong moral principles and prove it has integrity.
We say let her compete. There are a lot of layers of mistakes here, none of which are Lamer's fault. She shouldn't be punished.