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Dr. Saturday

Kansas has dismissed Brock Berglund, but refuses to let him go

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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When Brock Berglund found out via Twitter that Kansas had dismissed him, he wasn't bitter. Instead, he says, he was thrilled that his long battle with the Kansas athletic department was over and he was free to pursue his football career elsewhere.

Less than a day later, the freshman quarterback was on the phone with a lawyer readying a fight with his former university after it denied his request for release.

"On Monday I was dismissed from the football team and at that point I was assuming, whatever and that I would be released," Berglund told Yahoo! Sports. "Tuesday I had correspondence with the athletic department saying my hearing [with the Kansas Student-Athlete Appeals Board] was scheduled for the 27th.

"I'm using a scholarship right now that they could be recruiting an athlete with. I don't know why they're dragging it out to this point. Really my ultimate goal is to get a release before we have to take the steps of showing up in Lawrence with a legal team and doing all these things that are just expensive and unnecessary for us and unnecessary for them."

Berglund and his lawyer, Vince Linden, will appear before the Kansas Student-Athlete Appeals Board (SAAB) on Jan. 27 in hopes of reversing the athletic department's decision.

"Brock Berglund's request for a transfer is in the University's appeal process," said athletic department spokesman Katy Lonergan in an email, "therefore, KU has no comment at this time."

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On Dec. 27, Berglund sent athletic director Sheahon Zenger an email asking permission to speak to other coaches, but made it clear he had not decided whether he was transferring.

Seven days later — the last day Kansas could respond without forfeiting its right to hold Berglund to his scholarship commitment — Berglund's request was denied. And, just to make sure it didn't have to send a separate letter, Kansas also denied any potential transfer request.

That didn't stop Berglund from submitting an official transfer request on Jan. 15, as well as a notice that he would not be at a mandatory team meeting on Jan. 16. Berglund said he spoke with his lawyer about the meeting and worried that if he attended the meeting it would lock him into another semester at Kansas.

"We had been talking about that meeting for a week or more and just how we were going to handle it," Berglund said. "In essence, once you show up on campus that day of that meeting, you would have locked yourself in for the next semester. And if you don't finish the semester you make yourself academically ineligible to transfer. So, that meeting marked a lot more than just a mandatory team meeting."

Berglund's failure to attend the meeting was the reason given for his dismissal, though the writing was on the wall back in December when new coach Charlie Weis accepted transfers from former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist and former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps.

Berglund, who missed the 2011 season while dealing with third-degree assault charges back in his home state of Colorado, said he had one meeting with Weis — before his request to transfer — and in it Weis seemed excited that Berglund's legal issues were behind him and he was going to be back on the field for the spring. However, Berglund's meetings with quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus weren't nearly as positive. Powlus told Berglund that Crist was going to be the starter and Berglund could compete for the backup position.

That's when Berglund started to rethink other options.

Former starting quarterback Jordan Webb had already asked for and been granted his release. Webb graduates in May and said he had no trouble with Weis and that the coach wished him the best.

"He was very supportive," Webb said of Weis. "He released me to any school of my choice. He had open arms with me, really."

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So why is there an issue with letting Berglund, a player who never took a snap and has no ties to the new coaching staff, go?

"I think that's what the story is here; that there's just no reason," Berglund said. "If it was just that we didn't like the reason then that's one thing, but the fact that there's just not one and now I have to spend thousands of dollars on this and this and that when all I want to do is play football and move on with my life. I don't harbor any grudge toward Kansas. I wish them the best as they move forward. I just want to move on."

The denying of transfers seems to be popular in the past couple months. The most publicized is that of St. Joe's basketball player Todd O'Brien, who was denied his appeal to transfer to UAB. O'Brien, who has been practicing with UAB and taking grad school classes in public administration, is currently meeting with his lawyer to pursue other legal action. St. Joe's athletic director Don DiJulia said he couldn't discuss the reason behind the denial because it would violate privacy laws.

During Berglund's hearing on Jan. 27, Kansas will be required to divulge it's reason for denying Berglund's transfer. However, that information, depending on its nature, does not have to be released to the public.  It could have something to do with Kansas' Academic Progress Rate, considering Weis parted ways with 10 players on Monday, including six who were dismissed. When a scholarship player leaves a program before graduating, whether in good academic standing or not, he brings down the program's overall APR score. Every player earns one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and one point for staying with the university. In Berglund's case, he's costing he university one point. All APR scores for the 2010-11 school year will be released in May.

Berglund said if he's denied in the appeals process, he's prepared to take Kansas to civil court.

"It's obviously something where you don't want to devote any more time, any more effort, but if you don't get granted [a release], you don't get to talk to another coach until you have that release. Whether I like the rule, don't like the rule, it doesn't matter. So, whatever means is necessary to get that release is kind of the contingency plan, if you will. But we're trying to handle it in a forum that's as small as possible and as productive as possible so we can get the release."

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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