Following St. Joseph’s well-publicized refusal to provide former basketball player Todd O’Brien with a release to play at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, another situation has arose in which a college inexplicably refuses to provide a release to a student-athlete seeking a transfer.
The student-athlete in question is Brock Berglund, a quarterback at the University of Kansas. Berglund was on the Kansas roster when the university fired head coach Turner Gill, replacing him with Charlie Weis. Shortly after Weis took over, he landed 2 high-profile transfers to play quarterback: Dayne Crist formerly of the University of Notre Dame, and Jake Heaps formerly of Brigham Young University. Berglund was the odd man out and decided to seek a transfer.
Kansas, however, denied Berglund permission to speak with other schools and advised him that he would not be released from his scholarship – even though he had yet to ask for a release. Berglund has appealed the decision and hired an attorney, Vince Linden. In the meantime, Berglund was dismissed the team for missing a meeting, a fact he discovered on Twitter.
Here are a few thoughts on the situation:
- There are always two sides to a story, but Kansas hasn’t disclosed its reasoning for denying Berglund’s request beyond calling it a “teachable moment.” On the surface, the denial appears hypocritical. Kansas stands to benefit greatly from the fact that Notre Dame and BYU, respectively, provided Crist and Heaps with releases. Nevertheless, Berglund has been denied the chance to seek a new opportunity despite the fact that he’s been dismissed from the team.
- Even if Berglund was given his release to transfer, he’d have to sit out one season before he could play at the Division I level. Isn’t that rule deterrent enough for student-athletes to transfer without thinking it through?
- Kansas’ decision to deny Berglund a release has monetary consequences, as Berglund had to retain counsel, and if he loses the appeal, may have to pay his own way at his next college for at least the first year.
- Although the NCAA and schools like to believe that a student-athlete chooses a school, not a coach, this view does not reflect reality. Student-athletes choose schools based on coaches. Accordingly, when a school fires a coach it must be prepared to deal with transfers – and deal with them fairly.
- The NCAA needs to eliminate or revise this rule to prevent colleges from arbitrarily preventing student-athletes from being able to transfer and take advantage of other opportunities – especially when the student-athlete is no longer wanted by the coach at the original school.
- ESPN.com’s David Ubben has it right – this ugly situation is not worth the trouble for Kansas.