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In Sports Commentary

Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan is preventing Jarrod Uthoff's transfer to 25 different schools, an unusually high amount.

In Sports Commentary

Current Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff is seeking to transfer to a program that better suits his offensive needs.

The emperor has no clothes in Madison


I like Bo Ryan.

I go back with the Wisconsin basketball coach to when he was winning four championships in the 1990s at UW-Platteville and I was calling the play-by-play at UW-Oshkosh. I covered his introductory news conference at Milwaukee when he made the leap from Division III to Division I. Two years later, I applauded his elevation to the only job he truly ever wanted, back in Madison with the Badgers; the same team he was an assistant for before he began climbing up the coaching ladder.

I've broken bread with the man. I've thrown down drinks with the man in the French Quarter at the Final Four. I truly respect the man's coaching ability; moreover I like Bo Ryan very much on a personal level.

But Bo Ryan is being a pigheaded fool right now.

Current Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff is seeking to transfer to a program that better suits his offensive needs.

Fair enough. Ryan famously wins games by playing a slow-down game on offense and by suffocating teams into submission on defense.

It is a strategy that may bore some, but has been very effective, leading the Badgers to five Sweet Sixteen berths including their Elite Eight campaign of 2005. It certainly is a system that turns a lot of players off, but Ryan is able to coach up the kids that do buy in.

So the system isn't for Jarrod Uthoff. That's okay. Maybe there would be another place that would be better for him. After all, player's scholarships can be revoked after one year; why should they be held in a perpetual indentured servitude in a place that you do not want to be at?

But unlike coaches who can get out of their multi-year contracts at the drop of a hat (and a well-heeled booster's check to the coach's former school in the form of a buyout), players are bound by their soon-to-former coaches restrictions.

As was expected, Ryan restricted Uthoff from transferring to another Big Ten school. That was expected, as was Ryan adding in-state rival Marquette to the list.

What was not expected was Ryan then adding the entire Atlantic Coast Conference to the places Uthoff was restricted from going to seek a basketball scholarship from.

"I just got an email about it today from Wisconsin's compliance office," Uthoff told the Metro Sports Report Monday evening. "I didn't see it coming."

Former Wisconsin assistant Tony Bennett, the son of former Badgers head coach Dick Bennett, wanted to contact Uthoff about playing at Virginia, where the younger Bennett now coaches.

Nope.

Uthoff says he doesn't know why Ryan has restricted so severely his choices. "You have a better guess than I do," he said. "I'm not really sure."

The time has come. Actually, let me amend that. The time is woefully past due for the time for college coaches to get off their high horses and do the right thing. To restrict players movements while not having that same restriction put upon them is ludicrous.

In so many ways, college athletes come to a particular school to play for a coach. What happens when that coach leaves for greener pastures with not so much as a proper goodbye.

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Talkbacks

HomerJay55 | April 20, 2012 at 1:42 p.m. (report)

In the end some of the "facts' in this case were slightly off. Uthoff submitted a list of 16 schools. 4 of those were denied. When all was said and done, he was restricted from Big 10 schools only. sometimes it's best to wait for all the facts are out.

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High_Life_Man | April 19, 2012 at 2:25 p.m. (report)

Sorry, Bo is absolutely right on this one. http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/story/2012-04-19/wisconsins-bo-ryan-seeks-answers-not-disdain-in-attempt-to-block-jarrod-uthoffs-

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swoakes | April 19, 2012 at 11:32 a.m. (report)

Doug, I've gotta agree with muellertime09. Uthoff signed on to play with the Badgers. If he wants to go elsewhere because he doesn't want to compete for minutes next year with incoming frosh Sam Dekker (the real reason I think Uthoff wants to leave), well, he's got plenty of options. Just none in the Big Ten nor ACC. That leaves hundreds of other options and dozens in the major conferences. And as I understand it, the restriction placed on him doesn't prevent him from playing for any other Big Ten or ACC team; it just prevents him from getting a scholarship. If he wants it bad enough he can join any other team as a walk-on and pay his own way through school like most of us do. Part of me feels bad for the kid because as you said, he just wants to play basketball. On the other hand, I don't see how the Badgers are morally wrong for putting restrictions on his destination. They've put time and effort into recruiting Uthoff and coaching him thusfar. By accepting a scholarship from UW, he basically signed a non-compete agreement like you'd find in the business world. Life isn't fair sometimes.

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brewcitypaul | April 19, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. (report)

Didn't the kid know what kind of team and offensive system that Bo Ryan ran when he accepted a scholarship? Case closed. People are acting like Bo Ryan took this kid off the streets from his family and is holding his hostage. Once again the media blows something completely out of proportion. Stun.

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muellertime09 | April 18, 2012 at 4:14 p.m. (report)

Doug...I like you man, and from one Titan to another, let me politely disagree with you here. I think Uthoff should be able to go anywhere as well, bur Ryan has restricted about 25 or so teams from Uthoff. There are about 340 D1 programs, so that's less than 10%. I wouldn't call that severe. Second, the quarterbacks coming to UW from the ACC have or are graduating from their schools, so they can go anywhere they want, provided the graduate program isn't offered at their previous school. That comparison holds no water in Uthoff's case. Again, I think Uthoff should be able to go to the ACC if he wants, but this doesn't just happen in Madison. If you're going to be on a soapbox about the issue, make sure you mention that it's a nationwide issue, and not just a UW one.

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