Bo Ryan is no longer college basketball’s Public Enemy No. 1.
After a couple of days where the coach was shredded by each and every outlet covering college basketball, Ryan finally relented. The only schools that Jarrod Uthoff is restricted from transferring to are other members of the Big Ten, which is about as good of a deal as you can get given the unfairness of the NCAA’s rule allowing coaches to block transfers.
Whether or not this was a result of Ryan simply wanting to hear Uthoff explain to him why he wanted the transfer or the Wisconsin program buckling under the pressure put on it by the media and the fans is, in the end, a moot point. Ryan is off the hook.
But he wasn’t the only one that was unfairly blocking a player’s efforts to transfer.
The nation’s latest transfer martyr is Jordan Clarkson of Tulsa. Tulsa is undergoing a complete overhaul of the program. Head coach Doug Wojcik was fired, replaced by Danny Manning. Manning brought with him an entirely new coaching staff. Tulsa also replaced their athletic director in January, as Ross Parmley took over for Bubba Cunningham, who was hired by North Carolina.
And it’s Parmley who has reportedly been the one fighting to keep Clarkson from being cleared to transfer where he would like to. Clarkson requested a release to eight schools. Five of them — Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Arizona — were denied while Colorado, Vanderbilt and TCU were allowed. Ironically enough, not a single Conference USA school is on the banned list.
“We don’t know the reason behind it,” Jamie Clarkson, Jordan’s mother, told CBSSports.com on Thursday afternoon. “Jordan has been loyal and honest. We have not been in contact with any other schools.”
Parmley isn’t the only AD trying to prevent a player from transferring to the school that he wants to attend. Eric Hyman, South Carolina’s AD, has restricted Damontre Harris from receiving a release to talk with NC State about joining their program. Hyman believes that Harris was tampered with. Former South Carolina assistant coach Orlando Early is now on Mark Gottfried’s staff at NC State.
And therein lies to precise injustice with the way the current transfer rule is structured.
Like it or not, players pick what school they are going to attend based on their relationship with the coaching staff. In both Clarkson’s and Harris’ case, the coaching staff that they committed to is no longer heading up the program. Manning took over for Wojcik and Frank Martin was hired to replace Darrin Horn, who was fired in March.
There were no restrictions put on Manning’s or Martin’s move by their former employer. The ADs didn’t ask the players if they wanted to see Horn or Wojcik fired. These kids are now forced to: a) play in a program that bullied them into staying around, b) transfer to a school that isn’t the best fit for them athletically or personally, or c) transfer to the school that is their best fit and be forced off scholarship for a year.
How is any of that fair?
Bo Ryan is a public figure. Everyone knows who he is, if not because of the job he holds but because he looks exactly like Frank Costello in The Departed. Parmley and Hyman should be raked over the coals just as much as Ryan was.
We’ll see if that actually happens, however.