I really don't know what writers would do with themselves for the majority of the college basketball offseason if the NCAA was run in a fair, respectable manner. But such a reality seems far too incomprehensible to entertain, so let's move on immediately and introduce our latest dilemma: Murphy Holloway vs. the University of Mississippi.
Holloway (pictured) is no longer enrolled at Ole Miss. He's got two years of eligibility left and is seeking to transfer. He withdrew on April 30. If only he could've left and gone to the school of his choice. He considered South Carolina. They are in the SEC with Ole Miss, so the school denied that. Fair enough. (Disclaimer: Holloway could wait an extra year after doing something like Eloy Vargas — playing at a community college, for instance.) I can understand guidelines that prevent rival schools within a conference from luring away talent, as things may tend to run a bit amok with that much dabbling enabled.
But, just so you know, sometimes schools do grant players to transfer within the conference, though that can mean playing without a scholarship.
But what of Clemson? That's the other school Holloway would've liked to play at. Heck, even with a new coach he was willing to give it a go. No dice. Mississippi said unh-uh to that proposition as well. The school believes Clemson was seeking out Murphy well before he decided to officially clean out his dorm on Oxford. Ole Miss won't let anyone it suspects was eyeing its player come in and offer a scholarship. Tampering isn't meant to be taken flippantly, but if a player wants out and is leaving the conference, what does it matter to the school after the player has been granted a release?
If that was the case with Clemson, is it fair? Should it matter? If a player wants out, why should an institution he or she is no longer affiliated with have any control over that player's future outside of a given conference?
In fact, we've now seen two cases in less than a week where this has become a problem. And it's another SEC school that's involved.
Justin Knox played at the University of Alabama and is now set to graduate after summer courses in a couple months. Pretty great, right? Kid finished his four-year course load in three years, and he still has some basketball in him, so he wants to play for another school while going through a grad program. But Alabama told Knox not only could he not play for another SEC school, he was forbidden to suit up with any team on Alabama’s 2010-11 schedule (ridiculous) or any school within the Alabama system — meaning perennial thorn-in-the-side UAB, which many believe was Knox's desired destination.
Like Ole Miss, Alabama believes UAB went after Knox some time ago and thus it won't let an intra-state school/program poach its player. The grapes, they are so sour.
What's with the insecurity?
The situation is absolutely unfair. Knox and Holloway are having their futures decided by scorned lovers with too much power. And the hypocrisy is laughable. Look at all the players who came before Knox at Alabama and were allowed to do what he cannot.
Alabama and Mississippi (universities that represent two of the least-educated states in the country) are making up rules as they go. The problem isn't that there's a rule in place or a mountain of stipulations, it's that there is no legislation in place that — surprise, surprise — protects the student-athletes.
Holloway and Knox may have to end up in places that will leave them unsatisfied and unfulfilled from a basketball and lifestyle standpoint. It'll be as if they never left their original schools in the first place. In that way, Ole Miss and Alabama will have ultimately won, having their petty tentacles never truly let go of two players that wanted a fresh start and a new way of life on their terms.