Shocked. Shocked to find out that a system rigged against the student athlete came down on the side of the school and coach.
Former Vanderbilt basketball player Sheldon Jeter, embroiled in a transfer dispute with Commodores basketball coach Kevin Stallings, said Thursday his appeal to Commodores officials to be released to Pitt has been denied.
Jeter, from Beaver Falls High School, announced in May his intentions to transfer to another school closer to home. Stallings informed Jeter, as is his right under NCAA scholarship bylaws, that he could transfer to any school in the country with the exception of Pitt.
The rules for appealing a denial of transfer are stacked against the student. They can file an appeal, but it is filed with the school that employs the coach and from where the kid wants to depart. If anyone can find some examples where an appeal went against the coach I’d love to know.
The other detail is that we at least have confirmation of one piece of previously unclear information. Only Pitt was blocked by Vanderbilt and Kevin Stallings.
As the Vandy blog Anchor of Gold notes, this is the first time Stallings has put a restriction on a transfer. The reasonable suspicion on the restriction would be that Stallings believes there was some tampering — yet he won’t come out and make the accusation.
Jeter could still transfer to Pitt, but he could not receive a scholarship for the first year. That’s a tough pill to swallow and not surprisingly, Jeter isn’t saying what he will do.
Part of the problem here, is that after the initial news that Jeter had some restrictions on his transfer, no one talked. Jeter opted not to take it to the media. Apparently trying to work it out with Stallings and Vandy quietly. Vandy and Kevin Stallings refused to make any public comment. Stallings in particular wouldn’t say a word.
Side note, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece it notes,
Stallings has not spoken publicly about his decision to deny Jeter a transfer to Pitt. Stallings could not be reached Thursday.
From The Tennesseean:
Stallings did not publicly disclose his reason for blocking Pitt.
Jeter has not returned numerous messages from The Tennessean seeking comment.
In case you missed some recent examples of transfers with restrictions that gained notoriety.
As for Vanderbilt’s denial of Jeter’s appeal, this isn’t the first time a college program has taken this kind of step and it certainly won’t be the last. There was Phil Martelli denying Todd O’Brien’s request to be cleared to play at UAB, and despite media pressure Martelli refused to budge.
And there’s also the case of former Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff, who would ultimately be cleared to transfer to Iowa after head coach Bo Ryan was criticized publicly for prohibiting the move.
The Uthoff case from last year is the example from which I think Kevin Stallings learned the lesson of keeping quiet. Uthoff and his family made the restrictions public and helped create more attention on the matter. Bo Ryan responded — and did so poorly. He basically spoke of Uthoff as chattel. How the school and coaches invested in him by recruiting and coaching him while he was redshirting in his first year. As if that gave them greater right and claim to control his choices.
Not surprisingly, it blew up in Ryan and Wisconsin’s face and definitely played a role in removing the restrictions.
Conversely it could be fair to say Sheldon Jeter made a tactical error in being quiet about the matter. Uthoff and his parents made sure the media knew. He did interviews. Talked about it. Kept it in the news cycle and brought unwanted attention to Wisconsin and Bo Ryan.
Jeter allowed his situation to disappear from public awareness (outside of Pitt and Vandy fans). He let Vandy whisper some excuses without any rebuttal.
Jeter’s only leverage really was public attention. Vandy/Stallings, though, has the control over his transfer. The system is rigged to favor the school and coach. By trying to work quietly and with some dignity to the whole thing, he completely weakened his position to get what he wanted.