In the end, Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt’s vindictiveness will cost Sheldon Jeter around $8000 and a delay to his education by a year. That’s my rough estimation of the costs Jeter and his family are probably incurring for this year. The travel costs to and from Florida, living expenses and tuition down at Polk Junior College. That may not sound like much in the big picture. But keep in mind this is because of the vindictiveness of a coach that makes nearly $2 million per year and a university that has an endowment of over $3 billion.
At the same time, it changed nothing with the broader outcome. Sheldon Jeter will still be wearing a Pitt uniform next year and part of the team. Just as he would, if Stallings and Vandy had simply released him from his scholarship without blocking Pitt.
Still Stallings got his pound of flesh. Sheldon Jeter and his family acted with dignity by keeping quiet about everything. Trying to work within the system rather than make it a media thing. They did not play the victim. Unfortunately, reality turns that virtue into a personal cost.
Stallings actions — though initially decried — will quickly be forgotten simply because he won’t answer any questions about the matter. At worst, for Stallings, the incident is a symptom of his own larger problem of losing a lot of players and his program starting to slip.
This sort of thing is why for all the talk of reforming/changing/destroying the NCAA is a load of crap. Coaches. Individual schools. Conferences. They like to talk about it. They will use the NCAA as their whipping boy. But at the end of the day, they want that NCAA shield. Not simply to take the abuse and be the entity to take the brunt of the anger. Pretending that the NCAA is some separate behemoth keeping them down.
The member institutions — including Pitt — are the NCAA. They put the rules in place. They place the responsibility with the NCAA and complain when it doesn’t work their way to deflect their own responsibility and ownership.
Stallings and Vandy can hide behind NCAA rules to control what happens to Sheldon Jeter. Pitt fans and the media that notice can complain, and bitch about how this is another case where the NCAA is not really working for the “student-athlete,” but the member organizations interests. And the game goes on.
UPDATE: And to prove my point about how Sheldon Jeter and his family have taken the high road the entire time with Vanderbilt and Kevin Stallings, this interview he did about his commitment to Pitt. With no ill words.
Jeter averaged 5.5 points and 3.4 rebounds while playing 18 minutes a game as a freshman at Vanderbilt. When he decided to transfer to be “closer to home,” Commodores coach Kevin Stallings denied both his request and an appeal to accept a scholarship from Pitt, which hadn’t offered Jeter out of high school.
Jeter picked Vanderbilt over Penn State, Kansas State, South Carolina and Wisconsin. When he decided to transfer, Jeter said he was in contact with Cincinnati, Georgetown, Florida State, Ohio State, Purdue and VCU. While he waited, those schools filled their scholarships.
“It’s just been difficult,” Jeter said. “To leave a great institution like Vanderbilt and then go through what I went through this summer, it’s been humbling. But the end result is worth everything I went through. I felt like I fit in at Pitt. How I feel now is worth all the anger, frustration and stress that was put on me.”