Tag:Todd O'Brien
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:06 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 2:15 pm

Todd O'Brien to CBSSports: 'I'll waive anything'

                                                                                                                                                                                       (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

Todd O'Brien told CBSSports.com he's willing to sign anything, waive anything -- in order for Saint Joseph's to finally divulge the reason why it hasn't allowed him to play this season at UAB. 

"I have nothing to hide," O'Brien said on Monday. ""I'll sign whatever they want. "

A call to Saint Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia was not immediately returned Monday in an effort to see if the school had any response to O'Brien's willingness to waive student privacy laws. 

O'Brien, if you recall, averaged one point per game last season at St. Joe's and transferred to UAB. He was hoping to take advantage of the NCAA's rule which allows a player to utilize his final season of eligibility immediately - pending he has graduated and will study a major that wasn't offered at his previous institution. 

St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli and the administration didn't sign off on O'Brien being allowed to compete at UAB this year -- and the NCAA upheld the decision. 

O'Brien told CBSSports.com his latest appeal by the NCAA was denied. 

No one truly knows the reason that St. Joe's hasn't allowed O'Brien the opportunity to finish his college career. 

There has been speculation that O'Brien's involvement in a stolen laptop incident -- one in which he was cleared -- played a factor. Others believe it's because Martelli felt O'Brien wasn't truthful and used the school to pay for summer classes while he knew he was transferring. There are those who feel as though Martelli won't sign it because O'Brien isn't going to UAB for academics. 

"We respect the fact we can't comment," St. Joe's athletic director Don DiJulia told CBSSports.com last week. "Due to federal privacy laws." 

But now O'Brien has made it clear he will waive whatever laws exist so that the school is forced to state its case. 

"I just want the truth to come out," O'Brien said. 

Martelli told CBSSports.com last week it was an NCAA matter and that his position remains in tune with the university. 

"That's all I can say," Martelli said. "We stand by the NCAA's decision." 

"The problem is that the NCAA is saying it's St. Joe's decision and the school is putting it on the NCAA," O'Brien said. "It's ridiculous." 

What's ridiculous is if St. Joe's continues to remain tight-lipped.

Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:34 pm

Video: Seth Davis interviews Todd O'Brien

By Matt Norlander

The issue's not going away, Phil.

Todd O'Brien appeared on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night, the latest push to free the grad student who wants a little more time in uniform before leaving organized hoops behind for the rest of his life. O'Brien resubmitted his information to the NCAA and is awaiting the latest word to see if his case can merit an override from them, since St. Joe's isn't willing to talk or budge on his release.

I originally snagged O'Brien's first media interview in the wake of his SI.com piece re: Phil Martelli and St. Joe's not letting him off the hook. Seth, using barrels of fewer words, did a much better job than I in getting information and bringing more light to the problem. O'Brien handled himself well, too.

Seth also has an accompanying column
up about this. If some think this is continued bludgeoning of a story that doesn't deserve this attention, they're missing the point. College players already wield too little power. When the system screws the little guy, we always take notice. It doesn't have to be some prominent figure; America likes to stand up for itself and fight on behalf of the person that was -- or could be -- us in some way. O'Brien represents that. Here's the interview.

Posted on: December 20, 2011 1:05 pm

Podcast: Todd O'Brien speaks about Phil Martelli

By Matt Norlander

Todd O'Brien's story has created quite a stir, and rightfully so. His SI.com piece had more than ripple effects; it's created waves in the college sports community.

O'Brien wrote eloquently on his situation, but we wanted to hear more, so we were able to get him on today's podcast, his first interview (of what will be many; O'Brien's about ot do a media tour de force) since the piece went live. I ask him about his relationship with Phil Martelli, why he decided to leave, when he decided to leave, the laptop-theft issue from last February, and if that has any connection to the situation he finds himself in now.

And to be clear here: Martelli has, for perhaps the first time in his career, been muzzled on this issue. I'd be eager, willing and anxious to have him on the podcast if he so pleases.

What to hear where:
  • From the beginning: A reset and introduction to O'Brien's situation, for those not fully understanding the rare circumstances he's involved in right now.
  • 2:45: O'Brien explains when and why he approached Martelli about leaving.
  • 6:23: Who is Phil Martelli, and did the relationship between he and O'Brien sour quickly?
  • 10:18: O'Brien details when and why he last spoke to Martelli. And the discussion was much more positive then. "Seemingly a good talk," O'Brien said.
  • 12:40: How O'Brien's involvement (minimal or otherwise) in a laptop-theft incident from February plays into his leaving the school and his fractured relationship with Martelli.
  • 17:51: Why should we believe this isn't about athletics and O'Brien being frustrated over a depletion of playing time? He states his case, and admits the lack of playing time did give him incentive.
  • 20:18: Why UAB? O'Brien is from Pennsylvania, and attended Bucknell and St. Joe's, after all.
  • 23:25: Why won't Martelli let this happen? That's the crux of the issue. What's O'Brien's perspective on this?
  • 26:20: We know O'Brien hopes he'll play again, but does he believe Martelli will actually go back on his word?

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 11:55 am

St. Joe's won't free former player Todd O'Brien

By Jeff Goodman

Free Todd O'Brien. 

O'Brien is a former Saint Joseph's big man who has transferred to UAB, but isn't allowed to play because the school -- and coach Phil Martelli -- refuses to sign a waiver. 

Here's the letter O'Brien wrote on SI.com on Monday. 

O'Brien spent one season at Bucknell before transferring to St. Joe's, where he averaged 22.7 minutes his first season before getting only 7.2 minutes and averaging 1.0 point per game last season. 

O'Brien's lawyer, Don Jackson, told CBSSports.com the player was informed by Martelli in the spring that he didn't fit into the team's plans. 

O'Brien decided to take advantage of an NCAA rule in which a player who has graduated in four years, but has a year of eligibility remaining, can play immediately at another school -- as long as it's for academic purposes and the player is pursuing a graduate program that isn't offered at his old school. O'Brien is working on a master's degree in public administration. 

Jackson said O'Brien was given permission to talk to other schools, but Martelli and the school have not signed off on the waiver that would allow him to play at UAB.

Martelli did not return calls by CBSSports.com seeking comment, but the school did release comment. 

"Saint Joseph's University followed all applicable NCAA procedures and applied consistent internal practices in declining to support the requested transfer exception," the statement read. "Upon appeal, the NCAA legislative relief wavier team [initial decision] and the Division I Subcommittee for Legislative Relief [final decision] each reviewed the case and did not grant the requested waiver. Institutional policy and federal student records law prohibit Saint Joseph's from releasing additional or confidential information in this matter. As all eligibility determinations rest with the NCAA and not its member institutions, Saint Joseph's University has no further comment and considers the matter closed."

The school's interim president, John Smithson, also expressed his support for both Martelli and Saint Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia in response to O'Brien's first-person letter on SI.com.  

Sources told CBSSports.com that a previous incident last season involving a stolen laptop might have contributed to Martelli's resentment toward O'Brien, even, according to Jackson, referring to him as the "most disloyal player he's ever coached." 

Pat Swilling Jr. was dismissed from the team in the laptop incident and Jackson said O'Brien sat out four games during an investigation. 

"Todd was investigated for having knowledge of it," Jackson said. "He sat out four games during the investigation, but was 100 percent cleared and reinstated." 

"What does the laptop issue have to do with releasing him or not?" Jackson asked. 

The other issue, sources told CBSSports.com, is that Martelli believed O'Brien knew all along he was going to transfer -- but didn't inform the staff or the school until July 18 and took three summer classes that were paid for by the school. Jackson reiterated that O'Brien was told he wasn't in Martelli's plans, but that something may have changed in terms of current players transferring or him not getting players into the program that were anticipated. 

Whatever the case, Martelli needs to let O'Brien play for Mike Davis and the Blazers. It wasn't as if O'Brien was a star. Once considered a big-time recruit back in the day for Bucknell, he had turned into an insurance policy for the Hawks in case someone got hurt. He averaged just one point per game, didn't play in several games last season, and didn't leave for a fellow Big 5 school or within the same league. He is at UAB, a program that is struggling and isn't on St. Joe's schedule this season. 

If he signs off on it, O'Brien would go from a practice player -- which he's been down at UAB since mid-October -- to someone who could likely play immediately. 

"UAB's compliance said that it could be done almost immediately," Jackson said. 

However, O'Brien sits in limbo for the time being while Martelli takes a public battering for his unwillingness to relent. 

It can all be over, though. Martelli just needs to let O'Brien go free. 

Photo: Getty Images

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com