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Quite the Contradiction

As you may or may not have heard, there have been huge headlines lately over the possible transfer of Wisconsin redshirt freshman Jarrod Uthoff. Uthoff would like to leave the program, and head coach Bo Ryan is fine with that. Well, to a certain extent.

Ryan examined the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native’s list of schools he was looking at transferring to and crossed off nearly half. Ryan said he didn’t want Uthoff transferring to any B1G school, ACC school or any team on Wisconsin’s schedule.

Excuse me? That list would include over 30 schools. Ryan’s B1G restriction makes sense, because that could be a possible game with Uthoff between one and three times a year, but his reasoning for ACC schools is completely ridiculous. The B1G conference and ACC have a contract every year for the B1G-ACC Challenge in which any school from one of the conferences can be selected to play any school from the other. Ryan thinks it’s only fair to restrict a school that Uthoff might choose because they MIGHT play them. If that’s the case, he shouldn’t be able to transfer anywhere. Technically, Wisconsin could play any team in college basketball in the NCAA Tournament.

This story has created a lot of controversy lately and ESPN’s Jay Bilas spoke out about it saying if a coach can leave a school during his contract (which Bo Ryan did when he left UW-Milwaukee for Wisconsin), a player should be allowed to do the same thing. Uthoff wasn’t receiving playing time at Wisconsin so he wants to go somewhere where he will.

Since the original decision by Ryan and Wisconsin (with some heat taken from fans and analysts all around the nation), UW has decided to let Uthoff transfer anywhere he wants…outside of the B1G conference. Justice hasn’t exactly been served, but this decision makes a little more sense. It’s understandable that a coach and university wish that a player leaving the program not go to another university in the same conference, but they shouldn’t be allowed to restrict them from it. The way I see it, I think if a coach can do something to a player that makes them want to transfer in the first place, they shouldn’t be able to control possible destinations.

If Ryan went off the same rules he’s trying to give to Uthoff, he’d still be at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. So why should he able to control the decision of a young man who he didn’t treat well enough to keep at Wisconsin in the first place? It’s a question that has plenty of answers, but Bo Ryan’s isn’t the right one.