Friday, April 20, 2012

Wisconsin Badgers do the Right Thing

The Wisconsin Badgers have officially released Jarod Uthoff from transfer prison.

This story developed when Uthoff wanted to transfer from Wisconsin after sitting out his freshman season as a redshirt. For my international readers, a redshirt can participate in team activities including practices but cannot play in actual games.

Usually a player and coach will say nice things about each other after the transfer decision is announced and the player will go on its merry way. But Uthoff’s case became a national story because Wisconsin coach Bob Ryan and the school put major restrictions on where Uthoff could transfer.

The NCAA allows schools to put restrictions on transfers, but most schools put only a small handful of teams on the list. Often, schools won’t allow a player to attend another conference school or one of their biggest rivals. But Wisconsin first said that Uthoff couldn’t go to the entire ACC, the Big Ten (where the Badgers are a member), Florida, Marquette and Iowa State.

Uthoff cried foul.
The former 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball wanted at least the opportunity to consider a wide range of schools. Apparently, more than half of Uthoff’s options were on Wisconsin’s no-no list.

Uthoff appealed to Wisconsin officials and after a meeting Thursday, the Badgers will now allow him to transfer to any school but a Big Ten member. There is talk that Uthoff may appeal that ruling too so he can consider a Big Ten school.

Ryan and his program were taking considerable national heat over the restrictive behavior. If Ryan was trying to prove a point, it didn’t work. Apparently, he caved in to the pressure and probably for good reason. If you were a recruit, would you want to go to Wisconsin with the thought that if it wasn’t a good fit and you wanted to transfer that Ryan would put you in prison too?
It’s probably too late for Wisconsin to avoid short-term recruiting damage, but at least Uthoff can consider more flavors rather than just vanilla and chocolate.

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