Jarrod Uthoff intends to transfer

  • ESPN.com news services | April 19, 2012

Wisconsin Badgers coach Bo Ryan told ESPN.com Wednesday that he is fine with redshirt freshman Jarrod Uthoff filing an appeal to transfer to the school of his choice after Ryan said he was simply following procedure in barring certain schools.

Ryan said Uthoff has a meeting Thursday with Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and will have to tell him "face to face" why he wants to go to a certain school.

Uthoff met with associate athletic director Justin Doherty Thursday morning and was expected to meet with Alvarez in the afternoon, a Wisconsin spokesman told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

A decision on Uthoff's transfer request is expected later Thursday.

Ryan said he sought counsel from other coaches on how to handle a transfer, because he could remember only one other similar situation in his career. He cited the example of Minnesota's Colton Iverson, who wasn't allowed to transfer within the Big Ten. Iverson ended up at Colorado State.

"I just want to explore my options," Uthoff said Wednesday evening in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Uthoff's former AAU coach, Jamie Johnson, said Wednesday that Uthoff recently told Wisconsin officials he intends to transfer and submitted a list of approximately 25 potential schools. Johnson said Wisconsin denied permission to more than half of the programs on Uthoff's list.

"He's hopeful," Johnson said of Uthoff's appeal. "I think he's surprised at what has transpired."

Johnson said Uthoff also will visit Creighton, one of the schools approved by Wisconsin.

The 6-foot-8 forward told an Iowa-based high school sports website, metrosportsreport.com, that Ryan has placed every Big Ten and ACC school, plus Iowa State and Marquette, on the list of schools that can't contact him.

According to the website, Uthoff said he would consider making an appeal to the NCAA if his appeals to Wisconsin don't work.

"We'll see. I might," he told the site.

Ryan said it is commonplace to bar transfers from going to a conference member school. Ryan said he also added in schools that were on the Badgers' schedule.

He said the reason all ACC teams were banned is because the Badgers could play any of them in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. He said Florida was added because the Badgers just signed a home-and-home series with the Gators to start in Madison in the fall. Marquette is always added because the Badgers play the Golden Eagles every year.

When asked why a player should be prevented from moving to a school of his choice when a coach can freely move within a conference, as Tubby Smith did from Georgia to Kentucky in the SEC, Ryan said that it's a professional contract and there are buyouts and penalties.

"There are rules of a scholarship," Ryan said. "I didn't make them up."

Ryan said he was told that Uthoff didn't hand in his appeal. He later learned that the appeal was put in Doherty's mailbox in an envelope without a stamp. Ryan disputed a report that Uthoff dropped off the appeal and said a woman did it in his place.

Uthoff told the AP that he had a friend deliver the letter to the office of Doherty before the deadline, and a secretary put it in Doherty's mailbox.

"Apparently, he didn't check his mailbox," Uthoff said.

Now Uthoff will meet with Doherty on Thursday regarding his appeal.

"Jarrod is going to be afforded the normal, NCAA-described appeal process," Doherty said.

Ryan, who was returning from a recruiting trip Wednesday, said he told Uthoff that he would fly back from a trip last week with his wife to meet with Uthoff, but the offer wasn't accepted. Ryan said he hasn't met with Uthoff, but wanted to so he could hear why he wanted to leave.

"I didn't know that he had filed the appeal since we didn't know it was in the mailbox," Ryan said. "It is out of my hands now. There is a process that he has to go through and it is with the administration.

"Coaches told me they can appeal and win but there is a process. I haven't lied. I'm on the (coaches) board and have taken stands on unpopular things. But this is something that all coaches do. I didn't make the rules. I'm just following them."

Ryan There are rules of a scholarship. I didn't make them up.

-- Bo Ryan

Ryan said he wouldn't discuss the impact of losing Uthoff. The Badgers lost to Syracuse in the NCAA tournament East regional semifinal in Boston last month.

NCAA rules allow a player to transfer, requiring them to sit out a year in most cases. But as Uthoff's situation shows, the process can be more complicated. According to the NCAA's website, most transfers also require a "permission-to-contact" letter from the current school to a potential new school.

According to a student-athlete handbook posted on Wisconsin's website, a player who intends to transfer must make a written request to the school's director of compliance for permission to speak to another institution or use the transfer exception. A coach may deny permission, and the student-athlete can appeal.

"Appeals related to the denial, by a coach, of a student-athlete's request to contact another institution or to use the one-time transfer exception, begin with a written request to the sport administrator for the student-athlete's team," the handbook says.

If the sport administrator upholds the coach's decision, the student-athlete can appeal to Alvarez. If Alvarez upholds the decision, the student-athlete can make a request to the chair of the athletic board for an appeal committee hearing that will determine "whether the athletic director's decision was reasonable."

According to the handbook, the appeal committee's decision is final and not subject to further review.

The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference, starting with the 2011-12 season. The new rule allows transfers to receive a grant-in-aid from their new school, but reduces their remaining athletic eligibility by a year.

Previously, once a Big Ten player signed a grant-in-aid agreement at one Big Ten school, he or she could transfer to a second Big Ten school, but would not be allowed to receive any financial aid.

Chad Hawley, the Big Ten's associate commissioner of compliance, said Thursday that the rule change was made to prevent penalizing the player from receiving scholarship money. But the conference wanted to put in a penalty if the player transferred within the conference.

In Uthoff's case he would be allowed under Big Ten rules -- if Wisconsin didn't block him -- to transfer to another Big Ten school, but would have only three seasons of eligibility left, not four.

Although Uthoff isn't yet a high-profile player -- he redshirted as a freshman last season -- his situation is gaining national attention. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas posted on his Twitter account that "Wisconsin restricting Jarrod Uthoff's transfer is simply wrong. There is no legit reason for a school to control a player's destination."

Johnson, Uthoff's former AAU coach, doesn't understand why Wisconsin might be worried about Uthoff going to another marquee program.

"If you end up playing (against) him, just try to beat that team," Johnson said.

Johnson said Uthoff wants to transfer because he felt he didn't fit in with the Badgers' style of play.

His advice to Uthoff this time around?

"Take your time this time," Johnson said. "Don't rush into anything."

Johnson, a coach with the Iowa Barnstormers program, calls Ryan and assistant Greg Gard "good guys" and says he wouldn't necessarily discourage future recruits from considering Wisconsin.

"At the same time, I hope cooler heads prevail," Johnson said.

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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