Jarrod Uthoff will meet with Wisconsin officials, including Athletics Director Barry Alvarez, Thursday morning to go over his appeal of transfer restrictions.
The meeting caps a wild week for both Uthoff, a Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate, and Wisconsin, which has become a national punching bag over the unusually heavy restrictions it has placed upon Uthoff.
Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward at Wisconsin, seeks a scholarship release from Wisconsin. Coach Bo Ryan initially denied permission for Uthoff to contact all Big Ten schools, Iowa State and Milwaukee-based Marquette. After Virginia Coach Tony Bennett asked to contact Uthoff, all Atlantic Coast Conference schools were added to Uthoff’s restricted list.
But even with the meeting scheduled, it’s possible Wisconsin could keep all the restrictions in place.
“I’m not sure,” Uthoff said Wednesday. “I’m not positive.”
Uthoff had two business days to appeal the restrictions to the school’s compliance director, according to Wisconsin basketball spokesman Patrick Herb. A source earlier told The Gazette that Uthoff had not submitted his appeal letter. It turns out, it was misplaced.
Uthoff said he was required to drop his appeal list to Justin Doherty, Wisconsin’s associate athletics director for external relations. Doherty was unavailable, so Uthoff then asked Doherty’s secretary if he could place it on Doherty’s desk, but the secretary said he couldn’t do that. So the secretary took Uthoff’s appeal and filed it in Doherty’s mailbox.
Wednesday, Uthoff confronted Doherty and his staff to ask why the appeal was not received. After a discussion, Doherty discovered Uthoff’s appeal letter in the mailbox.
“She just placed it in his mailbox and he didn’t check his mailbox until I had a meeting with him (Wednesday),” Uthoff said. “I told him the situation and he went and checked his mailbox and it was there.
“They said, ‘Well, this changes things. This puts the burden on us.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you expected me to do.’ They said it was fine.”
Attempts to reach Doug Tiedt, Wisconsin’s assistant athletics director for student services, were unsuccessful. Herb said Ryan would not comment.
Uthoff red-shirted this season for the Badgers. As a senior at Jefferson, he was Iowa’s Mr. Basketball and averaged more than 26 points a game. He had scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Illinois, Indiana, Butler, Northern Iowa among other schools, including Wisconsin. He committed to Wisconsin in July 2010.
Uthoff has a visit scheduled next Monday at Creighton. Wednesday, he said he did not rule out UNI, which also has permission to speak with Uthoff.
If Uthoff was granted a full release, he could attend any Big Ten school on scholarship, according to league rule change that went into effect this year. But he has to sit out one year if he wants a Division I scholarship. He also could attend any college denied by Wisconsin, but he would be ineligible for a scholarship for one year and would lose a year of eligibility.
The story has reached viral status with commentary on national websites, radio and television shows. Ryan and Wisconsin has become heavily criticized, and Uthoff said he’s overwhelmed with some of the attention.“I’m surprised with how many people are interested in this,” Uthoff said.