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Memphis reportedly refuses to release Austin Nichols, asks for bad press

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What are you doing, Memphis?

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis junior forward Austin Nichols, a former five-star recruit, is attempting to transfer from the Tigers' basketball program, according to multiple reports. The only problem? Memphis is refusing to release him.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Nichols missed a mandatory team meeting, and after Memphis denied his release, he could be requesting outside support, according to CBS Sports' Gary Parrish.

It is not all that uncommon in college sports for schools to deny athletes releases, but it is almost always a bad idea from a public relations standpoint, and for good reason -- using your power to keep a college kid from playing where they want is not a great thing to do. Kansas State was skewered last year for not releasing women's basketball player Leticia Romero. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was criticized for giving Jarrod Uthoff an insanely large transfer ban list. Appalachian State didn't release Devonte' Graham when he got an offer from Kansas.

Usually, players get a release after a lot of bad PR for the school, so it won't be surprising if Nichols does eventually get his release. That said, why not just release him now, Memphis? Nothing good comes from keeping a player against his will, and for a program that is under harsh scrutiny for underachieving in recent years, making this into a big ordeal is just a bad idea for everyone involved.


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