Boise State’s announcement on Wednesday that seldom-used players Joey Nebeker and Edmunds Dukulis would be leaving the program had the look of more than a few departures that take place every spring. A player who didn’t see much playing time makes the decision to transfer, with an eye towards more playing time at another school.
It happens quite often, and the rising number of transfers in recent years has led some to use the word “epidemic” in describing the state of affairs.
However, according to BJ Rains of the Idaho Press-Tribune, Nebeker has argued that he did not want to leave and was forced out by the program.
Nebeker said Rice told him during a meeting earlier this week that his scholarship wouldn’t be renewed following the end of the current semester.
“He informed me that he’s going to cut me because he doesn’t think I’m good enough to play at this level,” Nebeker said during a phone conversation. “Basically, that’s the reason he gave me. I was shocked.
“I feel a little cheated. I didn’t get the opportunity I deserved and was promised.”
Situations like this are tough, primarily due to the fact that scholarships are one-year renewable. That means a program can decide to not renew an athlete’s scholarship for whatever reason, whether the reason is deemed “fair” or not. Nebeker was behind a group of players that included veterans such as Thomas Bropleh and Anthony Drmic, making it understandably difficult to earn playing time last season.
Unfortunately the lack of opportunity can happen at the college level, with the season being a “fluid situation” in which a coaching staff’s desires change based on how the year’s going and who’s next on the schedule. However, it’s possible that Boise State could have helped Nebeker and Dukulis earn the opportunity to play at another Division I school without penalty if Nebeker’s account is accurate.
Back in February John Infante wrote this story on the “run off waiver,” which was enacted back in 2012. Essentially, if a player released meets the following three conditions he can earn immediate eligibility without having to drop a level:
Documentation demonstrating that the student-athlete would not have had the opportunity to return to the previous institution’s team for reasons outside the control of the student-athlete.
A written statement from the applicant institution that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meets all progress-toward-degree requirements at applicant institution.
A written statement from the student-athlete’s previous institution indicating that the previous institution supports the request.
Based on the conditions above it may be difficult to get a school to go along with this, as it could have a negative impact on recruiting. But on the other side of the argument is the idea that helping an athlete who had little chance of earning significant playing time do so elsewhere would be a positive for the program.
What’s next for Nebeker and Dukulis? That remains to be seen. As for Boise State, junior college guard Montigo Alford accepted the program’s last available scholarship on Thursday.