Programs placing restrictions on transferring players comes as no surprise in college basketball, with a number of conferences having rules that make it either difficult or impossible for a student-athlete to remain within the league once they decide to move on. However some schools take this a step further, restricting student-athletes from transferring to schools on upcoming schedules as well.
Missouri did this with forward Johnathan Williams III (who’s now at Gonzaga) before relenting somewhat in the face of public criticism, and according to a report Louisiana Tech has chosen the same route in regards to guard Xavian Stapleton.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, the school is restricting Stapleton from transferring to more than 50 Division I schools. On that list are other Conference USA schools, schools that are on future non-conference schedules and schools located in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. Also on the list is Florida, where former Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White is now in charge.
“(Louisiana Tech AD Tommy McClelland) said he wasn’t going to release me just because we got a new coach,” Stapleton said. “He said he thinks I should give him a chance. If I don’t like how the program goes this year, he’d give me a transfer for next season.”
Yulonda Davis, Stapleton’s mother, says she was told differently.
“I tried to reach out to (new Louisiana Tech head) Coach (Eric) Konkol after Xavian told him that he wanted to leave,” Davis said. “He said ‘OK, I’m not going to hold him hostage. Of course I want him to stay, but I’m not going to hold him hostage.'”
The 6-foot-6 Stapleton, who averaged 6.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season, began having thoughts of transferring in early June before coming to that decision later in the month. The coaching change was an interesting process for Louisiana Tech, with many players campaigning for assistant Dusty May to be promoted.
But that didn’t happen, and with the program eventually losing Matt McMahon (he took over at Murray State for Steve Prohm) there was even more instability within the coaching staff. That factored into Stapleton’s decision to leave, but unless things change (or the NCAA grants their appeal) he’ll have to find a new school while working within the limitations set by Louisiana Tech.
In the case of the school, what’s to be gained by doing this? You get criticized by the outside of placing these restrictions on a player who wants to move on, and taking this approach to dealing with a player can hurt recruiting down the line. They’d be better off simply allowing the player to move on while focusing on those who want to be a part of the program.