It’s tough to defend the indefensible, and that’s a lesson Wisconsin head basketball coach Bo Ryan learned the hard way on Thursday morning.
Over the last few days, Ryan and Wisconsin have found themselves in hot water over their handling of redshirt freman Jarrod Uthoff’s transfer request. According to Uthoff, after he expressed his desire to move elsewhere, Ryan proceeded to block him from transferring to any Big Ten or ACC schools, as well as Iowa State and Marquette. Altogether, 25 schools are among the ones that Uthoff will not be permitted to transfer to if Ryan has his way.
As you would expect, a media firestorm erupted over the sheer, undeniable shadiness of this. While it would be moderately understandable if Roy Williams didn’t want a kid transferring to Duke, or if Ben Howland didn’t want to see one of his guys transfer to USC, or coach X didn't want to one of his boys moving to school Y that's right around the corner -- blocking someone from 25 schools is a little excessive.
It’s worth pointing out, coaches can up and switch jobs any time they want, hassle-free. Players, even when they’re not dealing with this sort of nonsense, still have to sit out a year when they transfer to another institution. The process is rigged against student athletes from the beginning, but Ryan and Wisconsin have taken a bad situation to a whole different level of stupid.
This morning, Ryan appeared on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in an attempt to defend his indefensible position. As you would expect, the end result was embarrassing and full of incoherent rambling.
Check it out (via Newsy):
Essentially, Ryan’s excuse for his actions is that every other coach who’s been in the same position was a terrible human being too. That didn’t fly with most folks, and the vast majority of this wonderful Thursday morning has been dedicated to eviscerating the Wisconsin coach. Seriously – Twitter, blogs, ESPN – everyone is killing this guy for what he’s said and done up to this point.
While it’s obviously terrible that Uthoff is going through this, maybe it’s actually for the best. Student athletes have been getting screwed by the NCAA and their respective schools for a long time. We know and accept that. Perhaps this blatant, reprehensible bullying by Ryan will finally open people’s eyes to the fact that things need to change.
There is too much outrage right now for Uthoff not to get that list of blocked schools trimmed down a bit. Hopefully it doesn’t end there, though.
If everything falls into place, with any luck, this will be the beginning of us modifying a terribly outdated, extremely exploitative system.
(Kudos to The Big Lead for the find)