Big, bad Kentucky won't let transferring freshman Joe Crawford out of his scholarship, which means Crawford -- who has played 12 career games -- will be a junior the next time he steps on the court.
|Joe Crawford is unhappy with his playing time and wants to transfer. (Getty Images)|
It should be harsh. Crawford is doing something a college freshman cannot do. He is bailing out on his team and teammates less than halfway through his first season, and for the most selfish of reasons: not enough "I" in team.
Crawford, a 6-foot-4 McDonald's All-American from Detroit, hasn't become the star many expected, though he has been one of Kentucky's first players off the bench and a regular on a team that was ranked No. 8 in the country.
Not good enough, so he wants out. Like we should be surprised. In high school, Crawford committed to Michigan only to renege, re-open his recruitment and choose Kentucky. It was crippling to Michigan, which didn't have time to replace him and feels his loss even now, with wing Lester Abram (shoulder) out for the season.
Now Crawford is crippling Kentucky, but this time he'll feel some pain, too.
Understand the complexity of this situation. Whether he has Kentucky's blessing, Crawford can transfer to another Division I school but must sit out a year. That's a commonly known rule.
It's the lesser-known details that allow Kentucky to take a stance that will cost Crawford more than mere boredom for one year.
Crawford is expected to transfer to Michigan State, though six others also requested his transcript: Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Arizona. It's worth noting the Wildcats didn't restrict Crawford's choice of destination, as was their right.
Under National Letter-of-Intent rules, Crawford would become eligible at Michigan State or wherever he lands in late December 2006 as a sophomore, unless Kentucky refuses to release him from his NLI. That's the case here. Kentucky has refused to release Crawford, which means he'll still be eligible in late December 2006 -- but as a junior, not a sophomore.
That year off that all transfers must endure? Crawford's year of eligibility will go with it, unless he wins an appeal to the NLI. Most student-athletes have five years to participate in four years of Division I competition, but not Crawford. Not anymore. He now has four years to play three, because Kentucky refused to release him.
Good for you, Kentucky.