May 22, 2017

This is so stupid.

It has been seven weeks since Cam Johnson made it known that he was transferring from Pitt as a grad transfer with two full years of eligibility left. To no one’s surprise the process of finding a new home has been a slow one.

A long-armed, tall guard who shoots better then 40% on 3s. From a Power conference. He was going to be in demand. And he was. Teams like Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon and others all contacted him. He took plenty of visits.

It was clear that Johnson was looking to play at a big name school where he would get plenty of exposure.

But a funny thing has happened. A lot of those big schools haven’t waited for him. They’ve made him wait for them. Arizona fell of the board this week when Rawle Alkins decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his sophomore year. Kentucky is slow playing him.

Those two years are double-edged for the bigger programs. It is a bigger commitment then simply going with a regular grad transfer who is only there for one year.

And very quietly Cam Johnson had sought to expand his potential schools to include ones in the ACC. It may no longer be an official conference rule barring in-conference transfers, but Pitt and basketball coach Kevin Stallings (like most schools) put that restriction on his transfer. He appealed to the school, and was given permission to talk to them, but if he wished to transfer he would have to sit a year — like a regular transfer.

This explains how, suddenly last week, Cam Johnson was being linked to North Carolina. Of course, both UNC and Johnson don’t want to have the restriction of sitting out a year.

This means putting some public pressure — making the restriction known — on Pitt and Stallings to remove the restriction. Which may explain some more context of Stallings complaining in his interview a couple weeks ago about media pressure on coaches over releasing kids from NLIs and transfers. Odds are, Cam Johnson was in the midst of the appeal at that point. I had assumed it was mostly about releasing Aaron Thompson from his NLI.

Stallings is in a bind mostly of his own making. His treatment of Sheldon Jeter those many years ago still haunts. The actions there, still remain indefensible. The in-conference restriction is hardly outrageous in college sports, but Stallings has less room to move.

I’m also a bit surprised to see UNC and Roy Williams pursue Cam Johnson like this. Williams is good friends with Stallings. Williams was one of Stallings’ mentors and had Stallings as a lead assistant for several years at Kansas. He knows the history of Stallings and transfer issues. He knows that UNC going for Johnson will be bad for Stallings on several levels. Yet, there he is, going after Johnson. And this is why folks in Raleigh and Durham get chaffed at the whole folksy, “Ol Roy” schtick. Don’t ever buy into the narrative of coaching — at this level — being anything but cutthroat and the bottom line.

There is a certain inevitability to seeing the restrictions removed, though.

Other schools have previously attempted to prevent their players from transferring to opposing schools within their conference or on their future schedules, or to schools others believe may have tampered with a player. Examples include Michigan with Spike Albrecht and Ricky Doyle, as well as Washington State and Valentine Izundu in 2016, Memphis and Austin Nichols in 2015 and Wisconsin and Jarrod Uthoff in 2012.

Each decision faced public backlash, followed by the removal of most, if not all, of the restrictions. Pittsburgh has already backtracked some, allowing Johnson to contact ACC schools, but if the past is any indication of the future, the university may lift any remaining restrictions due to public outrage.

This weekend ESPN analyst Jay Bilas took up the cause. Here’s, by-and-large, the collected tweets. This is one of Bilas’ favorite causes. The issue of players as chattel. Bilas regularly rails on the NCAA collectively over how players are restricted and controlled. And when a player gets restricted by a school on transfers he is happy to make that part of the overall narrative.  He puts Pitt on blast.

That caused Pitt fans on Twitter to respond with anger at Bilas. As you would expect. If you look at his tweets, Kevin Stallings isn’t mentioned once. It is all about Pitt and the institutions in general. There’s no specifying the individuals involved for a couple of reasons. But you attack the school, you are attacking the fans.

Bilas, like most analysts, is very friendly with the people he covers — the coaches in particular. So, he doesn’t want to have to attack the Stallings or any of the coaches if he can avoid it. If the coaches choose to hide behind school/NCAA policies for their own actions, Bilas is more than happy to let them and just go after the school or NCAA rather then hold the coaches accountable.

Bilas is a lawyer by trade, and that is important in looking at what he is doing. He is making his case. In his view, he doesn’t have to be fair or look at the other side. He simply has to advocate his position and let others do the work of countering him. He’s not going to back down from his position. Odds are, he won’t even concede a point.

For making the case, it is far easier to attack institutions or organizations then to target an individual. A nice vague, faceless enemy. It’s why propaganda tries to demonize groups or some collective rather then a single person or a few people.

Best not to take it personally. It’s going to suck for a little while.

It is not a free ride when you are putting in hard hours and entertaining the the fans and generating millions for your school.

The smart thing to do is to waive the rule for Cam. It would be better PR and is treating an alumni fairly and with respect. Pitt rarely does the smart thing.

You can’t have it both ways. If you want great athletes to come to Pitt, you have to be known for treating them well and with respect. The situation with Cam is not a normal one. He is leaving because of Pitt’s incompetence, not necessarily because he wanted to. He followed the rules, he graduated early and is a credit to his school. Pitt should look out for him and do whatever it can to help with his future.

Comment by gc 05.23.17 @ 9:40 am

Looks like I broke the 50 comment rule.

Comment by gc 05.23.17 @ 9:41 am

Cam could have walked on at NC or other D1 colleges, but he came to Pitt because they offered a scholarship. His BB skills were further developed at Pitt. He significantly benefited by being at Pitt. So spare me the “he should go wherever he wants” BS. Pitt offers I think 19 collegete sports, many of them for women. No one goes to most of these sporting events, most lose money. Football pays for most of them, and the school wouldn’t offer many of these sports if it weren’t for football and maybe basketball.

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.23.17 @ 9:50 am


Great to think Pitt should be the nice guys but the rule is followed by 90% of other colleges. Too bad Cam.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.23.17 @ 9:53 am

If it was a star on a winning team that wanted to grad transfer I agree. But this is a unique situation and I think Pitt should waive the rule, it is in their power to do so. It harms no one to do it. Except maybe Duke. It is also the classy thing to do.

Comment by gc 05.23.17 @ 10:04 am

I view these restrictions on a player who has already received his degree the same way I do an employee non-compete agreement. Both only benefit an employer/college and there is no benefit for the player/employee. A college degree, when viewed for the actual schools cost, is not that expensive especially when compared to the average salary in America.

As an employer I have many other considerations, health care costs, social security, vacation, sick time, training, etc. and I have never asked someone to sign a non-compete that has worked for me. They almost never hold up in court when challenged and if I am treating you well as an employee you shouldn’t want to leave.

When you restrict the ability for someone to better themselves while realizing no benefit yourself you are an ass-hat and are doing it simply because you are vindictive.

That fits Stallings MO and we are seeing play out here at Pitt with Cam. Keep in mind there is NO benefit to Pitt if Cam sits a year or plays right away.

If I’m wrong please tell us how it benefits Pitt basketball if Cam sits a year or plays right away where ever he plays?

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 05.23.17 @ 10:09 am

I am with Stallings on this one screw cam and corrupt unc

Comment by Steve 05.23.17 @ 10:25 am

Tony, it doesn’t benefit Pitt, you’re correct.

But it would send a message to Cam that he was a boring perimeter…circumference?…player who benefited thru an education by a great U and, more important, was healed by the best medics in the country.

Is he gonna be an opportunist for the rest of his life?

Will he not give back?

I’m guessing he won’t.

Comment by steve1 05.23.17 @ 10:29 am

Well more negativity surrounding the program its never ending. This might affect us with trying to recruit Mark Alstork he probably already eliminated Pitt from his list especially with him being religious and this being maybe a sign of things to come if he commits to Pitt. I’m on the fence with this because on one hand I’m like just let him go to NC and let it be over. But then if we let things like this happen Pitt stands no chance at competing because all teams like NC and Duke have to do is wait for a player to develop and go after them and the smaller schools have no chance to keep decent players on the roster. The NCAA needs to get it together and have either stricter transfer rules or no restrictions at all.

Comment by PittPanFan 05.23.17 @ 11:21 am

Maybe once a player graduates there should be no restrictions.

Comment by PittPanFan 05.23.17 @ 11:27 am


Cam transfer anywhere in the US except the schools
In the ACC. Hang tough on this Pitt.

Bilas protect Williams the guy who had no idea
his players were in the infomous African American
correspondace courses.

Comment by JR 05.23.17 @ 11:45 am

The rule is the rule, no matter the teams winning ability or the players ability.

If Pitt was a sure tournament team next year and Johnson was a star you would all be freaking out that he shouldn’t be permitted to transfer in the same conference.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.23.17 @ 11:51 am

notrocketscience – it’s not a rule. Pitt says it’s a school policy. It’s not an NCAA or ACC rule. This is Stallings simply being a dick.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.23.17 @ 12:29 pm

There was some talk that the NCAA would require colleges to commit to 4 year scholarships, but don’t know if it passed. But the trend seems to be to give the players more rights, privileges, benefits and freedoms (including cash stipends). I wonder how this affects competition among the 350 basketball schools, and what does it say about commitment and honoring your word? This all seems to be coming from the group that feels these poor “student-athletes” are being taken advantage of from the mean and profit hungry colleges. Give me a break…

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.23.17 @ 12:33 pm

It is a policy (policy for most schools) and Cam understood it. Be a man and move on.

He is the one being a tool. Transferring is one thing. Wanting to play on a team that will beat his ex team to a pulp is a classless move.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.23.17 @ 12:37 pm

Pitt basketball women best player Brenna Wise transfers out w little notice and it’s one thing after another Stallings and the men. I propose a clean sweep and shut down basketball at Pitt for 2 years to clean up this rancid sewer!

Who really gives a sh-t about Cam, KS or UNC?
Not me!

Comment by Dan 72 05.23.17 @ 12:39 pm

Like I said…If Pitt was a sure tournament team next year and Johnson was a star you would all be freaking out that he shouldn’t be permitted to transfer in the same conference.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.23.17 @ 12:40 pm

Stallings is a classless coach so it’s a wash.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.23.17 @ 1:14 pm

I don’t like Stallings either, but he is right on this one. Lots of other schools for the kid to pick.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.23.17 @ 2:23 pm

Cam can help tutor those UNC players that took the fake classes. Theres a reason why UNC is interested and I’m pretty sure its not for his game. He’ll be there helping raise that fake GPA for the team.

Comment by TX Panther 05.23.17 @ 2:55 pm

Look, if Pitt was going to be competitive or if UNC was actively recruiting Cam off of the roster or if there was some other nefarious circumstances involved, I’d understand the hardline approach.

Pitt is not going to be competitive though. The coach that Cam committed to left and all of his teammates graduated or fled the program. Cam graduated with honors. This is strictly him trying to improve his life.

I don’t see any reason to say no to the transfer other than being spiteful. Pitt’s response was only pointing to it’s intention of adhering to policy. Way to lawyer up.

The punishment of sitting a year before playing was exactly the same punishment Stallings levied against Jeter and it was the exact same punishment he felt that Aaron Thompson should have been hit with per the PG interview.

This isn’t Pitt policy, it’s Stallings policy.

Yes, most teams employ the same tactic with transfers. No one is denying that. That doesn’t mean that each situation is the same.

If Cam going to UNC put Pitt at risk of making the tournament or if it affected the competitive balance between the two programs, I’d be all for Cam having to find a different conference.

That’s not the case here though.

This is Stallings being a straight up dick because he’s lost control of the program.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.23.17 @ 3:14 pm

just one more thing to endear himself with the Pitt fans … this has been one of the worst off-seasons ever … assume KS can’t wait until it’s over and the season starts. Then he can show us his magic and/or find someone to blame it on.

Comment by Tomas 05.23.17 @ 5:05 pm

Tomas – +1

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.23.17 @ 6:33 pm

Stallings is dogshit. You could find a better coach andquakity person at Walmart at 2am or Gabriels buying those dank ass hotdogs.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.23.17 @ 6:35 pm

I for one support KS on this. Yes – he is a Dick, But UNC can suck it. And I really doubt the interest is all that serious from those cheaters anyway unless Cam is going to help tutor and add to the GPA.

Comment by TX Panther 05.23.17 @ 6:39 pm

Can’t support Stallings on this. These coaches are not gods. This is Cam’s life. If it was my son and he wanted to go to UNC, I would be all over Stallings; at his house if need be.

Johnson graduated from PITT. Thank you very much. Where is it written any body at PITT has a right to control his life any further?

His contractual obligation with PITT is over. He doesn’t need permission to transfer. He is continuing his studies at another institution and the NCAA says he has 2 yrs left to play intercollegiate basketball.

Case closed!

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 05.23.17 @ 8:19 pm


Why are we loosing comments after a number have been recorded here???????

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 05.23.17 @ 8:22 pm

Old Pitt Grad …. i don’t know the rules but if in fact, the “contractual obligation” is over .. then Cam wouldn’t even need to speak to Pitt. Something must require Pitt’s say so .. anyone ?

Comment by Tomas 05.23.17 @ 10:06 pm

Obviously, Pitt can limit gard transfers just like they can regular transfers.

Once again …. virtually EVERY conference in the NCAA has bylaws which restricts regular transfers from moving within the conference by imposing a 2-year wait. (n reality … an extra year wait.)

There are good reasons for this … and it should also apply to grad transfers.

Comment by wbb 05.24.17 @ 7:19 am

The ACC does not. This is a Pitt “policy”. UNC has recently let a football player transfer in conference to UVA and he played against them the following season. UNC isn’t being hypocritical in asking Pitt to do the same.

The rules may exist for a reason but if you look at it case by case, this one should be an exception.

Even if the conferences have rules, they’re beginning to be more flexible.

See … link to

“In the Big Ten, a move within the league is punitive. Prior to 2011-12, a transfer within the league was unable to receive a scholarship and had to sit out a season. The rule was altered starting with the 2011-12 season. Now, an athlete can receive a scholarship but loses a year of eligibility in addition to sitting out a season.

Still, in recent years, the Big Ten has seen some high-profile players move within the conference. Jarrod Uthoff went from Wisconsin to Iowa in a much-discussed move; last season, as a graduate transfer, Max Bielfeldt went from Michigan to Indiana. And now we have Spike Albrecht, another graduate transfer, matriculating from Michigan to Purdue.

The former Wolverine will be immediately eligible to play his final season if he secures a waiver from the Big Ten due to his transfer within the conference. It was not an issue last year for Bielfeldt, who received such a waiver last year. “

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.24.17 @ 8:34 am

Believe the grad transfer rule is fairly recent whereby they do not have to sit out a year like undergrad transfers.

Appears there is concern among many that what is happening are undergrad transfers pick up their 24 or so yearly credits while sitting out and then later graduate with eligibility remaining and can/do transfer to a bigger program to finish their eligibility on a larger stage.

Most of the transfers are up from smaller schools kind of making the mid majors a farm system of sorts for the power schools. The mid majors see their programs weakened while the power schools plug holes for a year or so.

I believe something like 30-35% of the grad transfers actually complete their studies. Maybe the NCAA should consider tightening this rule by limiting schools ability of taking grad transfers if few of those transfers actually complete work at that particular school.

Thinking out loud and off to work. H2P

Comment by Manhattan Panther 05.24.17 @ 8:56 am

Even if Pitt has a right to do it, it doesn’t make it right.

Pitt fans are scorned. I think it was Chas who put it best. Pitt fans saw the Bilas tweet and the subsequent CBB reporters who jumped on the bandwagon as attacks on Pitt. They weren’t. They were attacks on the policy that Pitt is trying to enforce. It’s different. These writers put everyone on blast for this. Pitt just got called out this time.

Take being a Pitt fan out of it. Take UNC and their National Championship out of it.

Is it fair to block a kid who graduated from a team that the coach who recruited him left and a roster that will have 90%+ turnover … then add in that he’s turned into a potential NBA talent meaning he should be playing for someone who gets his players to the NBA????

Under certain circumstances, maybe. But with the current iteration of Pitt basketball, and into the short-term foreseeable future, Pitt will not be competitive.

Cam going to UNC helps him and does not hurt Pitt. UNC didn’t actively recruit him. Cam didn’t get in contact with UNC until Pitt granted him permission. It’s not going to affect the competitive balance of the two teams. There is no logical reason to block him except to be spiteful.

And there have been plenty of spiteful comments on here. Pitt always gets screwed. Cam is being selfish. Everyone else has a similar policy. Why is Pitt being singled out? Blah blah blah.

There has not been one concrete argument against allowing Cam to go except that certain peopler are scorned Pitt fans, which, I’m sorry, is not a reason to screw with a kids future.

Especially, a kid who is a Pitt grad.

Stallings is a dick.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.24.17 @ 9:18 am

Compliance Heather has no clout and is a controlled puppet. If it wasn’t obvious before look at her following the rules and keeping Stage 5 Cancer Stallings.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.24.17 @ 7:55 pm

Tone deaf a little bit, Pitt? Is anyone in the BOT’s sphere reading the negative press? And do they care? Talk amongst yourselves.

Comment by Tony77019 06.01.17 @ 5:41 pm

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