After reading about the recent debacle that has become the Sydney Moss transfer situation, it’s obvious that this has become increasingly unfair for the person being hurt the most: the student-athlete who just wants to transfer to move closer to home.
To refresh you on what’s been transpiring, The Alligator’s Phil Heilman -- who by the way has done a superb job covering this ever-evolving state of affairs -- reported earlier this week that Moss plans to leave Florida.
The story should have remained relatively uneventful at this point, but unfortunately it isn’t. What happened next was truly flabbergasting for those that follow player transfers closely.
Gators head coach Amanda Butler had a very disappointing response to Moss’ desire to transfer which was to deny her release to any BCS program. Translation: “If I can’t have you, then no other top-notch school can have you either.”
There are many stories that I’ve heard of that go beyond the pale in limiting the options of a potential transfer. The standard approach is not to allow the student-athlete to transfer within the conference -- I don’t agree with this, but I do understand that course of action. Another alternative is to not allow the athlete to go within conference and future opponents already on the schedule for the next couple of years. Again, I think this is a little petty and petulant, but I have no major qualms about it.
The most radical example of this was when Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy wouldn’t release quarterback Wes Lunt to any school from the Big 12, the SEC or the Pac-12, plus Central Michigan and Southern Mississippi. Long-time columnist Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman wrote on this, and the title to his article was very matter of fact: “Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad.”
Are you listening, Coach Butler?
Now mind you, football is the driving force in college athletics with much more at stake, and even Gundy didn’t take it to the extreme that Butler has. It's inconceivable that any BCS football coach would go to the extreme that Butler has - the decision is beyond extreme, it’s excessive with steroids.
The question is how can a coach who has an overall record of 119-82 (59%) and 43-49 in conference wield this much power? It’s baffling. Maybe four trips to the WNIT in six years garners a certain amount of cache at Florida?
But the exceptional Amanda Butler -- yes that is hyperbolic -- has somehow taken it to another level. She essentially has taken the mob version of strong arming to new heights. To back an 18-year-old into a corner - a former Miss Kentucky basketball, no less - to where they have to consider transferring to a Division II or NAIA school because of your vindictiveness is abhorrent, at best.
What’s ironic about this scenario is that instead of focusing on improving upon the mediocre accomplishments during her tenure - especially for a BCS women’s basketball program with unlimited resources - Butler is putting more effort into blocking a student's desires than she apparently has in raising the standards that have been middling at best.
It is one’s hope that Butler will do right by the young lady and release her to a BCS school, but seeing her patterns already, I wouldn’t get my hopes up - I’m skeptical to say the least.