The Daily Trap, Trap of the Day: NCAA Transfer Debate
As young adults, one of the toughest decisions a budding mind must settle on is where to enroll in college. For aspiring student-athletes, this decision is far more pressing knowing he or she must weigh out what’s in their best interest for both for athletics and education. The headlines this week feature a young athlete who made the wrong choice and is now feeling the repercussions.
Meet Jarrod Uthoff, the 6’8” redshirt freshman power forward from Cedar Rapids. Just a year prior in the state of Iowa, he was known as Mr. Basketball. After being strategically recruited by the Wisconsin Badgers’ assistant coach Gary Close, Uthoff signed a letter of intent to play ball in Madison. The expectations for Uthoff’s potential in a Badger uniform were sky-high.
After riding the pine during his redshirt season, Uthoff decided Wisconsin wasn’t the place for him. He cited the desire to be closer to home as his reason for administering a transfer request to the Wisconsin athletic department (apparently a three hour drive is far enough to feel homesick). This was unusual for Wisconsin—they rarely come across signees wanting out.
Even though Uthoff had yet to play in a collegiate basketball game, his name inevitably began swarming the headlines after Badgers’ head coach Bo Ryan announced heavy restrictions on Uthoff’s rights to transfer…that is, his rights to transfer to certain schools. Uthoff was denied “permission to contact” any school in the Big Ten Conference, along with various schools spread across the country, such as Marquette, Virginia and Florida. Ryan was given the chance to explain himself on a popular ESPN talk radio show, Mike & Mike. The interview seems to have ruffled the feathers of the twitterverse, as analytics suggest 71% of fan reactions toward Ryan’s dialogue with ESPN were perceived in a negative light (sprinkle a grain of salt, of course).
After feeling the hot water in this transfer fiasco, coach Ryan took a step backward on his stubborn stance yesterday, lifting his original transfer restrictions on all schools except those in (Wisconsin’s) Big Ten Conference. The University followed up with an official statement of their own.
This raises an interesting debate in collegiate athletics. How terrible of a precedent could this be setting in an organization that is supposed to be working in the best interest of its student-athletes? Where should the NCAA draw the line when it comes to its policy on transfer requests? Should head coaches at universities be allowed this type of veto power, or should it fall into the hands of NCAA officials to ultimately determine a fair compromise for all parties involved?
The discussion continues in the NCAA Transfer Debate Trap!