These past couple weeks have been filled with news of outrageous decisions by people of power employed by the NCAA. First it was the story of Jarrod Uthoff, a redshirt Freshman at Wisconsin. He reportedly gave Coach Bo Ryan a list of 25 schools he wanted to transfer to, and was denied majority of them.
Now it’s the story of FIU player Dominique Ferguson. Ferguson has requested permission to transfer after the firing of Coach Isiah Thomas, and also was denied. Interesting. Ferguson said he wanted to be enrolled in a school closer to his Indianapolis home. Apparently, that’s not allowed. He has instead made the perfect decision to enter this year’s NBA draft.
I’m really having a hard time understanding these denials on the universities’ part. Well, I know it’s simple. University is a business first. Thus they are making decisions that are presumably protecting their athletic department (money). Somewhere in there, doing what’s best for the student was lost. After all, these kids are students right? Not employees?
This of course leads into the “should student athletes get paid” argument that coffee-less me does not have the energy for. But if you ask me it is very telling of the selfishness of the NCAA. “No, you cannot receive perks.” “No, you cannot make money off of YOUR jersey that WE make money on.” “And no, you cannot choose where you receive your education.”
So where does this leave our amateur athletes? Uthoff received good news when he was granted permission to transfer to any school outside the Big 10. Ferguson, who averaged 8.7 points and 6.2 boards this past season will more than likely not hear his name called in the draft.
Perhaps the most enraging part of Ferguson’s story is that he told FIU officials he wanted to attend a smaller school so he could receive better help academically. He said, “I told them that I wanted to leave to go to a smaller school, that I needed more one-on-one smaller classes.” Their response? An e-mail telling Ferguson, “We believe it is in your best interest to continue your studies here at FIU.”
Really?? You have a player who actually wants to stay in school and who expressed he needs a better academic environment, so he’s denied a transfer? He still has 2 years of eligibility left, but because he can’t transfer he instead cuts his education short to prepare for a job in the NBA in which he may never see the court.
FIU needs to grant him the release. After all, the NCAA cares deeply about academics first, right? Best wishes to that young man getting transferred. And if not, good luck in his pursuit as a professional ball player.