When quarterback Wes Lunt announced he was going to transfer from Oklahoma State, both he and the school went out of their way to handle it in the classiest way possible.
Lunt thanked Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy thanked Lunt. Lunt was a highly touted recruit and was a starter to begin the 2012 season as a true freshman, but he dealt with injuries and it was time to move on. Oklahoma State had a logjam at quarterback after the spring. Everyone seemed on board with him moving on and doing what was best for his future.
That makes Oklahoma State's subsequent significant transfer restrictions on Lunt so odd, and infuriating as well.
According to the Tulsa World, Lunt will not be allowed by Oklahoma State to transfer to a school in the Big 12, SEC or to Southern Mississippi (whose new coach, Todd Monken, was previously Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator).
OSU confirming my tweet from two days ago that Lunt is being blocked from transferring to certain destinations -- Southern Miss, SEC, Big 12
— Jimmie Tramel (@JimmieTramel) May 17, 2013
A similar report from CBSSports.com lists just SEC and Southern Mississippi on the restricted list. Derek Leonard, Lunt's high school coach, told Channel1450.com in Springfield, Ill. that the Big 12, SEC, Southern Mississippi and Eastern Michigan were on the list.
None of it makes sense. Let's revisit those quotes from the transfer announcement.
"We appreciate Wes and we thank him for everything he has done," Gundy said. "He's leaving on good terms and is making this decision based on what he thinks is best for his future."
"This was not a decision I took lightly, but it is a decision that I felt was right for me," Lunt said. "I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the entire Oklahoma State University community. Specifically, I would like to thank the coaches, players, and the whole OSU football family. I wish the Cowboys the best of luck in the future."
There are many things about college football that benefit the school and not the athletes that the NCAA laughably spends so much time saying it looks out for. In fact, almost everything is in place to benefit the schools. It's a one-sided relationship. Blanket transfer restrictions like this are one of the more outrageous slights against young men who want to switch schools for whatever reason.
Lunt wanted to change schools because, presumably, he feels he has a bright college future ahead of him but was not going to start at Oklahoma State. That happens. It happened to Joe Flacco at Pitt. He went to Delaware and did pretty well for himself. One would presume when Gundy was flirting with Tennessee about its opening this offseason that he had legitimate reasons, whether it be for his family or career, for looking into a change. Nobody blocked him from talking to any school, even while under contract. That's fair. Well, fair for those few in college athletics who are making millions. Not fair, apparently, for the unpaid labor of college football.
Unless there's more to the story – and go back and look at the quotes, it would make no sense for Gundy to lie in public comments he didn't need to make, say "he's leaving on good terms" and hurt his credibility – there's no reason to be so restrictive for Lunt. He's a young man who could have a bright and lucrative future. Gundy is making it harder for Lunt to seek out the type of college football career that he wants, and get the college education at the institution he desires. It's an unnecessary power trip that could have a significant negative impact on a 19-year-old's life.
This is college athletics at its most ridiculous, petty and hypocritical. It needs to be changed.