Two More Examples That, In The End, College Athletes Have Almost No Power

Two players from two sports in one conference give us our latest reminders that college athletes are often nothing more than cannon fodder for college coaches, left at the mercy of one-sided aid agreements. ↵

↵ ↵

↵

↵First we've got the story of Tennessee offensive lineman Aaron Douglas. He briefly made the headlines when he said he'd leave the program back in March. Now, more than a month after the fact, we get the strings that will be attached to Douglas' release via GoVolsXtra.com. Douglas will be released from his scholarship, but he must enroll at a school that is at least an eight-hour drive away from Knoxville. ↵

↵
↵⇥“It’s always been that his problems are from being here, being close to home,” [Vols coach Derek] Dooley said. “I felt like, first off, you don’t run from problems, you get problems to run from you. That’s what I tried to work with him on. ↵⇥

↵⇥“The problems don’t go away, but he was convinced that his problems were here. And so I said ‘OK, Aaron if that’s the case, I think we need to move away from the problem to help you.’ ” ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵This screams "punishment" on Dooley's part, but the coach insists that isn't the case: ↵

↵
↵⇥“I think it’s the exact opposite,” Dooley said. “I’m trying to help him. If the problem is truly at home, then he shouldn’t be at home. But if it’s not truly at home, then we think he should be at Tennessee.” ↵
↵

↵Dooley referenced his own personal experience of playing away from home when he walked on at Virginia, and that's fine if that was his experience, but Dooley is no longer part of Douglas' life. Scholarships are one-year renewable, so if Dooley was free to dump Douglas at the end of the year, the tackle should be able to make the same move without ridiculous arbitrary restrictions being placed on him. By leaving the program, Douglas has made it clear he doesn't want to have a relationship with Dooley, so why would he want to be guided by one of the coach's personal experiences? ↵

↵

↵Equally egregious: the tale of Alabama basketball player Justin Knox. He's logged three seasons at Alabama as a role player averaging 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds last season. For whatever reason, when Knox finishes up his degree at the end of this year -- he's graduating early -- he wants to play one more year at another institution as a graduate student. According to his uncle, Darien Knox, Justin was leaning toward attending UAB, but that won't fly because it goes against one of the three restrictions placed on his release: ↵

↵
↵⇥The restrictions say that Alabama will not release the Tuscaloosa native to transfer to: ↵⇥

↵⇥Another school in the SEC. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥A school on Alabama’s 2010-11 schedule. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Another school in the University of Alabama System. ↵⇥

↵
↵UAB is not in the SEC. They are not on the 2010-11 schedule at this point. But they are in the University of Alabama System. So no UAB for you, Justin Knox. The issue can't be head-to-head action, as the schools have only played each other once, which took place in the 1993 NIT. No, Alabama issued this statement to explain away the decision: ↵
↵⇥"the University of Alabama System has a rule or agreement in place that no student-athlete will transfer within the system." ↵
↵

↵Well, if they have a rule on the books, how can you argue with that? I mean, unless there's obvious precedent that players have gone between schools in the system in the past. Oh, wait, you mean it has happened regularly? The Birmingham News dug up examples of players who had done exactly what Knox is trying to do. ↵

↵

↵The lesson is this (and it's not a new one): Players are at the mercy of people who often view them as nothing more than a body in a jersey. They can be subject to any random enforcement of rules purely out of spite if an institution deems it so. This is why what Brandon Knight is doing at Kentucky by not signing at Letter of Intent is so important. These two examples just scream scholarship reform? Players might not have a lot of power, but Knight is doing his best to hold on to what little bit he's been given. The two examples above are those of players without a voice and they are obvious cases of why scholarship reform is needed. Are you listening, newly minted NCAA president Mark Emmert? ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.