On the surface, it was no big deal.
The 6-foot-3 guard has suffered two torn anterior cruciate ligaments and a broken wrist during his three years on campus, which is obviously enough to convince some players that there might be a better way to spend their time. So that's basically what everybody assumed ... until Steele took to Twitter on Tuesday night.
"What you mean I'm done lol ...." is a tweet from Steele that posted at 8:13 p.m. ET. About 15 minutes later, Steele, who was suspended three games last season for disciplinary reasons, followed up. "I came back last year to play ball and also for the people of Mississippi State. We a family. But there is always a homewrecker. ... All I wanted was a redshirt and [to] come back stronger next year. But they got what they wanted ..."
CBSSports.com reached Mississippi State coach Rick Ray by phone late Tuesday.
He tried to clarify the situation.
Ray explained that although Mississippi State's medical staff has already cleared Steele to play basketball without restrictions nearly two months in advance of the start of the season, Steele wanted to redshirt this year and return to the Bulldogs as a senior for the 2014-15 season. Problem is, Mississippi State will not have a scholarship available for the 2014-15 season. So that wasn't a practical option from the coaching staff's perspective.
"Therefore, [Steele] chose the option to graduate [this year] and play elsewhere next season," Ray, the second-year coach, told CBSSports.com. "I respect Jalen's decision and have no ill feelings toward him. We wish him the best."
Ray said Steele will remain on scholarship this year.
Steele will also have full access to the athletic trainers and academic resource center.