College Players Want Right to Leave

Can we all just get along?  That has to be the question now in college football as head coaches are taking their turn of holding back athletes from leaving and playing elsewhere.

First it was Charlie Weiss at Kansas.  Now taking his turn on the stand is Maryland coach Randy Edsall, who refused to release quarterback Danny O’Brien from his scholarship and allow him to play elsewhere.

This problem evidently began when Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin left to become head coach at Vanderbilt.  Edsall felt Vanderbilt tampered with Franklin while hiring him.

This caused a rift between Edsall and Franklin, although neither will admit it.  So when O’Brien and several other players asked to be released so they could go to Vandy and play, Edsall and the school balked.

Edsall acted like a spoiled child when announcing he didn’t want his team to play against his former quarterback, so he was free to make it as difficult as possible for O’Brien to attend a future opponent.  Yet it was alright for Edsall to leave Connecticut a year ago and take the Maryland job.

This is the double standard the NCAA will promote.  Coaches can leave anytime they want, no questions asked.  Edsall wanted to leave the Huskies, so he did.  That’s the American way, free enterprise as it is known in today’s political lingo.  There are no penalties for leaving a school for another.  Yet the players are hooked.

If a Trent Richardson wanted to leave Alabama early in his career, let him.  Nick Saban could have, and did, at LSU when he left for Miami.  Yet no players are allowed to leave if the coach does.  This is what the NCAA stands for.

Its understandable colleges want to hang onto these players.  They also want to hang onto the coaches.  But even if a player wants to leave Kansas after Charlie Weiss took over for Turner Gill after two years, let him.  Why question it?  That player came to Kansas because of Gill, not Weiss.  Why should a player be kidnapped by a system that placates to the adults, and then try to teach players to be better adults.

At the very least, players should be given the opportunity to leave a school if the coach they were recruited by leaves.  For example, when Luke Fickel was replaced by Urban Meyer, players on scholarship should have been given a chance to leave Ohio State for another school and be eligible to play immediately.

But what happened was Meyer was criticized for continuing to recruit players to Columbus who verbally announced intentions of attending another school.  Coaches were irate at what Meyer did.  No letter of intent was signed.  Just like a person buying a car, until the paperwork is signed there is no deal.

Players only want what the coaches have.  This game where coaches feel they can hold a players future in their hands as long as they are in college should end.


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