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Rutgers University Gets it Wrong with Tom Savage

The NCAA does a lot of things wrong, but today I became privy to perhaps the most offensive policy that an academic institution can have with regard to its students; preventing students from leaving a school to go to another school that in the student’s opinion, affords them the opportunity to achieve a more successful future.

It's being widely reported that Rutgers University football head coach, Greg Schiano, denied quarterback Tom Savage's request to transfer to the University of Miami. As it turns out, Big East conference rules prohibit players transferring to other Big East schools unless the transfer is first approved by the school the student wants to leave.

I don’t want to hear about contracts or any nonsense of the sort. A student, whether he’s a student athlete or not, attends an academic institution so that he can benefit from the opportunities that school gives him. If the student deems that another institution either in the class room or on the filed affords him a better opportunity of achieving success in his / her personal life going forward, the academic institution should not stand in his way of attempting to achieve that success. If the kid wants to enroll in school and play for the Miami Hurricanes, he should be allowed to do so. The logic being this thinking is academic (no pun intended.)

Here we have a clear case of an academic institution attempting to “conduct business” and “own the rights” of the student athlete without compensating him beyond the value of his scholarship. The insanity of it all is that the athlete in many instances can perform well and create a windfall for the academic institution yet the player doesn’t get to share in the wealth. But if the student athlete should attempt to better his personal situation, he’s denied that right. In essence, it’s a one way contract with the academic institution holding all the cards.

Coach Schiano approved 17 of the 25 schools submitted by quarterback Tom Savage's family as possible transfer destinations -- though Miami, the school Savage's father said his son appears to be leaning to, was not on the approved list.

Savage, a sophomore, announced just over two weeks ago that he was transferring out of Rutgers after losing his starting job to Chas Dodd. Savage earned freshman All-American honors a year ago and was widely viewed as the face of the Rutgers program after arriving as one of the most heralded recruits in school history. Reportedly Schiano gave Savage the option of returning to Rutgers if he decided to do so, but in a back-up role. How generous of you Greg….

Of the 17 schools approved by Schiano, every BCS conference except the Big East was represented. Shocker! Schiano declined comment through a school spokesperson. Savage's family has already filed its intention to appeal the Miami blockage.

So Mr. Schiano, let me get this straight; Tom Savage is not good enough to play for you, yet you are afraid that he will go to another school and kick your ass? How small of a man can you be? Shame on you Mr. Shiano and the entire Rutgers administration!

ESPN's National College Football Reporter, Joe Schad tweets, “Rutgers is blocking Tom Savage from transferring to state of Florida schools like Miami because they want to protect a recruiting area.”

Well there you have it folks. Little Tommy falls victim to the perils of big business in Collegiate Athletics. Something smells in Rutgers, and it’s Greg Shiano and the Rutgers football program.


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