Schools are still preventing players from transferring. Larry Brown is back in basketball. Bernie Fine is, too. That should be enough to get me through a Five for Friday.
1. So are there any more college basketball players still wanting to transfer who can't because they're essentially being held hostage by a coach or athletic director?
I honestly don't know because it's difficult to keep track. But let me state definitively that it's wrong wherever and whenever it happens, and regardless of the circumstances. I don't care about details. To me, this is simple. If a kid no longer wants to be a member of a program and is willing to sit out a year per normal NCAA transfer rules, he should be allowed to transfer free of restrictions. Period. End of conversation. And my hope is that the rules are rewritten in the near future to reflect exactly that. It would, if nothing else, prevent coaches from creating their own public relations disasters like Saint Joseph's Phil Martelli and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan have created in the past year. So this change would be beneficial for coaches, too. It would save them from themselves.
|More on college hoops|
2. But what about the player at Southern Illinois with the questionable grade point average? If he transfers with a GPA lower than a 2.6, it'll hurt SIU with the APR and could prevent the Salukis from playing in the NCAA tournament someday. Shouldn't SIU have a right to prevent him from transferring unless he leaves in good academic standing?
In a word, no. The player's name is Treg Setty, and, according to my colleague Jeff Goodman, SIU won't release him to transfer until he posts a 2.6 GPA, which would ensure SIU doesn't take an APR hit. Setty has a 2.5 right now. So his departure could in theory damage SIU as a program. I get that. I completely understand.
But do we ever prevent coaches from leaving because their departure could in theory damage a program?
Coaches leave programs on probation. Coaches leave programs with no recruits. Coaches leave programs at odd times with little regard to how their departures will affect schools, players and fans, and nobody seems to mind. John L. Smith just left Weber State to coach football at Arkansas. Tim Jankovich just left Illinois State to coach basketball at SMU. I assure you their abrupt departures will have more of a tangible effect on Weber State and Illinois State than Treg Setty's ultimate departure will have on Southern Illinois. But they're still free to leave. As they should be. I support their right to do so. I'm not interested in tying coaches to jobs they don't want. I'm just interested in creating a system where coaches who aren't tied to jobs they don't want are no longer able to tie players to schools where they no longer want to be enrolled.
3. But what if a player transferring is the result of tampering?
|Ex-Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine is back in basketball after being hired by an Israeli pro team. (US Presswire)|
Let a coach expose another coach like that one time.
Then everybody would think twice before tampering again.
4. How long will Larry Brown coach at SMU?
Three years is my guess.
5. Why would an Israeli team hire former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine as a consultant?
I have no idea.
Sometimes weird hires are made because a team wants to grab a headline or two, and this obviously did that. But who wants this kind of headline? Why would a professional franchise think it's wise to align itself with a man who has been accused of sexually molesting a teenager? I mean, I'm all for innocent-until-proven-guilty, and that's why I'd never try to throw Fine in prison without a trial. But he's still been publicly accused of some very serious and despicable acts, and the idea that a franchise -- or anybody, really -- would hire him to do anything is baffling to most reasonable minds. From a distance, it seems like a dumb decision made by a presumed smart person, which brings me back to coaches preventing players from transferring.