University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Greg Gard and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo both reacted with frustration Thursday to news that the NCAA had turned down transfer waivers for their players to begin playing immediately.
Both Micah Potter (UW) and Joey Hauser (MSU) were refused eligibility to play immediately after having transferred to their current teams. Hauser won’t be eligible this season, while the Badgers’ Potter will have to sit 11 games before he’s allowed to take the court.
Izzo immediately exprssed his displeasure with the decision.
“I can’t get into specifics, but in looking at the way waivers were approved and denied and then studying like I have, the old standard of one or two reasons has just blown up,” Izzo said Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Joey did have a strong case, and I’m devastated, if you want the truth. I did not think anything of it in August, because we weren’t gonna do anything. And then the family brought up what’s going on in different places. And seeing what’s been going on and talking to some coaches, I’m devastated for him to have to sit out his second season in three years, because he did (enroll at Marquette) early”
Izzo also announced that he would be stepping down from his seat on the National Association of Basketball Coaches, but said it was not a knee-jerk reaction.
“It wasn’t in protest of anything,” he said. “It was more that I just don’t want to put myself in a position to have to be dealing with things that I think questions are being answered by people who don’t know. I say again, when there’s an athletic problem, it seems like everybody else makes the decision. When there’s an academic problem, nobody has ever come to me to ask me for my two cents on it. I’m confused by that.”
Following an 88-70 win over Green Bay, the UW’s Gard also expressed his frustration with the NCAA’s process around transfer rules.
"Well I mean, the level of frustration has gone beyond anything I have ever experienced in almost 30 years of coaching,” Gard said at a press conference, which was reported by BadgerElite.com. “Really I look back over 30 years, the reason why I got into this profession was to try to help young people and make their experiences and their lives better. Unfortunately, during this scenario as this has played out since June, we haven't done a good job as membership and as the organization that kind of heads that membership in the NCAA of making a student-athlete's experience better.”
Gard noted that Potter will have sat 47 games by the time his eligible to play December 11.
"Like I said, I was hoping common sense would prevail in this. Unfortunately, it didn't, and again,” Gard said. “I just don't understand when we're in the business of trying to making these student-athletes' experiences better, his clock is ticking. The rest of us will go on, and the people that are in those positions in that committee, the NCAA staff, they obviously don't have their boots on the ground and understand the impact that this has on a young man and on his life and on his future.”
For his part, Izzo said he would have understood if Hauser had been ineligible for a few games, but an entire season just didn’t make sense to him.
“Joey didn’t come here because he thought he was gonna play right away. There was not even any talk about that,” Izzo said. “But as waivers started to pile up as the summer went along, Joey and his family felt they had a strong case.
“I don’t really appreciate when some people are getting waivers and other people aren’t. And all the research I’ve seen, the consistency of the guidelines for this I’m seeing are absurd. There’s arbitrary decisions being made, and what bothers me the most is they’re being made by individuals who don’t really understand what’s going on in our game and aren’t around the student-athletes on a daily basis.”