What a wave of publicity it has been for Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Austin Kendall. Around noon today Jake Trotter released an article stating that the Oklahoma Sooners would block any in-conference transfer of Kendall. This is standard procedure, however there was one caveat. Kendall is a graduate transfer, not an undergrad.
As it pursues Alabama grad transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts, OU is blocking Austin Kendall from becoming immediately eligible at West Virginia as a grad transfer, multiple sources told ESPN. https://t.co/gIeJBhdqSC— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) January 16, 2019
It is common for coaches to block an underclassmen from transferring to any school it plays during the remainder of the player’s eligibility. Typically this means any in-conference opponent and any future non-conference opponent.
When Trotter’s article dropped, Twitter erupted. Of course West Virginia Mountaineers fans were angry and viewed Oklahoma’s decision as cowardly. The real dagger came when journalist and personalities started pointing out that if Oklahoma was blocking Kendall’s transfer to West Virginia because of “inside information”, then why was Michigan’s Greg Mattison allowed to take a job with Ohio State. Certainly a coach is going to have a lot more “insider information” than a student-athlete.
So, a player shouldn’t be immediately eligible at a school in your league or on your schedule because they have inside info on your program? But, this is fine. https://t.co/qdVeY6EqIN— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 16, 2019
And, this is fine. Just not a player doing it. That’s unacceptable. https://t.co/PmH9t8DJY3— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 16, 2019
As the twitterstorm raged on, Oklahoma finally buckled. Somehow, now that the hypocrisy of coaches moving around is ok but students can’t control their own destiny, Oklahoma worked “through its concerns”. “Concerns”.
BREAKING: Oklahoma will grant grad transfer QB Austin Kendall the waiver to be immediately eligible at West Virginia, @usatodaysports— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) January 16, 2019
The school worked through its concerns over a transfer within the Big 12 to arrive at the decision.
Let’s be real here, what Oklahoma was doing was completely within the rules of the Big 12. They were only doing what they were allowed to do. This is exactly the same thing that came up previously in the S-E-C where Nick Saban got called out for doing what was within the rules. Neither school is wrong here, but the rule is asinine. Oklahoma had no concerns with Kendall going to West Virginia, yet the Sooners were willing to use the rule to cost Kendall a year of eligibility. That is low, especially since Kendall is a graduate. He has earned his degree from Oklahoma and should be free to choose his next destination. The NCAA rules committee will need to look at this and conferences need to start thinking more about the athletes.