When it was announced that freshman forward Sheldon Jeter made the decision to leave the Vanderbilt program, more than a few outlets believed that the Beaver Falls, Pa. native would eventually land at Pittsburgh.
With the stated desire to play at a school closer to home, not to mention the heavy personnel losses incurred by the Panthers this offseason, Pittsburgh seemed to be a good fit. Only one problem: Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings informed Jeter that he would be cleared to transfer to any school…with the exception of Pittsburgh.
Stallings is allowed to do so under NCAA rules, and Jeter was allowed to appeal the decision to Vanderbilt officials. According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jeter’s appeal was denied on Thursday.
What does the denial mean for Jeter? Jeter can still transfer to Pittsburgh, but he would have to pay his own way for his first year at the school. How much of an impact does this development have on Pittsburgh’s chances of landing Jeter? That’s unknown at this point in time.
Jeter spoke publicly today for the first time about his dilemma. He said he would make a decision “in the next few weeks. When asked if Pitt was still under consideration, Jeter said he could not answer the question.
Pittsburgh has just nine scholarship players on its roster for the 2013-14 season, and former Marshall guard DeAndre Kane’s decision to transfer to Iowa State as opposed to his hometown school didn’t help matters either. The question for head coach Jamie Dixon and his staff is whether or not there are any available prospects that can help the Panthers from a depth standpoint.
As for Vanderbilt’s denial of Jeter’s appeal, this isn’t the first time a college program has taken this kind of step and it certainly won’t be the last. There was Phil Martelli denying Todd O’Brien’s request to be cleared to play at UAB, and despite media pressure Martelli refused to budge.
And there’s also the case of former Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff, who would ultimately be cleared to transfer to Iowa after head coach Bo Ryan was criticized publicly for prohibiting the move.
Will Stallings eventually have a change of heart? If Jeter’s heart is set on attending Pittsburgh, all he can do at this point is wait and hope that the case.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.