Friday, September 12, 2008

Transfers 2008: More Reactions

Apparently I am not the only one who noticed (and began to wonder about) the sharp uptick of transfers (outgoing and incoming, in the Big East especially) this off season. The Seton Hall program and the Pirate head coach Bobby Gonzalez in particular, have drawn a good deal of attention given the recent (incoming) transfer of Herb Pope and Keon Lawrence. Andy Katz's (senior college basketball writer for interview with Coach Gonzalez last week gave Gonzalez a platform to voice his concerns that Seton Hall is stressed just to keep up in an increasingly competitive Big East conference. Both Pope and Lawrence were well regarded coming out of high school, but personal issues undermined both student-athlete's efforts to land a spot on a top-level squad. Gonzalez and Seton Hall it seems, offers both an opportunity to play for bigger stakes on a larger stage. That Michael Glover, an undersized forward who Gonzalez thought might be a difference -maker was sidelined last season over NCAA Clearinghouse issues has chosen (with Gonzalez's blessing?) to sue in an effort to play this season.

SportsNet New York (SNY) and's writer, a long-time Seton Hall beat writer, Adam Zagoria penned a piece about the Lawrence/Pope transfers for his column yesterday. The essay, a 1,000 (or so) word advocacy piece that could dictated directly by Gonzalez, lays out the strongest case publically given to date for granting waivers that would allow both Pope and Lawrence to play this season.

Zagoria's fellow writer and blogger, Brendon Desrochers, responded to Zagoria with his own blog (Court Visions) entry late yesterday. Desrochers, in his piece "Transfer ruling creates ambiguity", posed questions similar to those I have been trying to develop over the last month. Desrochers set aside the specifics of Pope's & Lawrence's applications to explore the explosion of waiver applications in the past year, and what might mean to D1 basketball and players facing similar hardship conditions in the future. Derochers suggests that previous waivers (traced back to Tyler Smith's application to play immediately after transferring from Iowa State to Tennessee to be closer to his dieing father) have fed the impulse to transfer and then apply for the waiver. Desrochers asserts that the NCAA has contributed to the situation by granting Smith's (and then Florida State-to-Georgetown transfer Julian Vaughn's) waivers in the first place. Desrouchers concludes by wondering if, in the face of family crisis, it is best for the individual to add the burden of playing a D1 slate to the already tall order of passing college courses and attending to family needs. Rereading Katz's interview, with Desroucher's questions in mind, gives me an unsettling feeling that Gonzalez (and how many other D1 coaches who face similar pressures to "produce now or else") confirms the impression that he is a bit opportunist.

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