It took one week, a moderate media firestorm and one awkwardly contentious radio interview, but Wisconsin has agreed to allow freshman forward Jarrod Uthoff to transfer to any school of his choosing outside the Big Ten.
The school’s athletic department and head basketball coach Bo Ryan were the target of criticism this week after Uthoff said he was told he could not transfer to Marquette, Iowa State, Florida or any school in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Ryan was steadfast in his decision, even through an adversarial interview on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” program Thursday when he explained that he took advice from other coaches on which schools he should block.
Uthoff met with Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and associate AD Justin Doherty on Thursday to appeal the decision to reject four of the 16 schools on his transfer list. Alvarez and Doherty then met with Ryan and decided that Uthoff would be allowed to contact any team outside of the conference.
“Ryan wanted the appeals process to serve as a means for dialogue to occur between Uthoff and UW Athletics administration,” the school said in a press release.
A 6-foot-8 red-shirt freshman, Uthoff was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Iowa in 2011.
Uthoff told the Associated Press on Wednesday, “I just want to explore my options.”
Ryan maintained that Uthoff never told him of his intent to seek a transfer and never met with the 11th-year coach.
Uthoff’s former AAU coach, Jamie Johnson, said Wednesday that Uthoff is scheduled to visit Creighton. In its release, Wisconsin said Uthoff may appeal the “permission to contact” denial to any Big Ten school, but must do so at a hearing with the Chair of the Athletic Board within eight days.
In his interview with “Mike and Mike,” Ryan said he was relatively unfamiliar with the transfer process and sought out advice from other coaches.
“I don’t know how to deal with transfers like some other guys who do it a heck of a lot more often, so here’s what I did. I called some coaches and I said, ‘Guys, what do you do when a situation comes up like this?’ Every coach that I talked to said, ‘Coach, you block the conference, and then any schools — especially if you’re in a major conference — if there are schools around in a contiguous area, states that are close proximity.”
In 2010 Badgers sophomore guard Ben Brust successfully appealed the Big Ten’s restriction on transfers within the conference when he signed with Wisconsin after initially accepting a scholarship from Iowa. When the Hawkeyes fired head coach Todd Lickliter, Brust asked for his release. After his request for a waiver by the Big Ten was initially denied, a faculty group ruled to allow him full transfer freedom within the conference.