Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan spent 15 minutes of ESPN's "Mike and Mike" defending his handling of Jarrod Uthoff's proposed transfer from the Badgers' basketball program.
Ryan has restricted 26 schools from contacting Uthoff, a Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate, including all Big Ten and ACC programs, Iowa State, Marquette and Florida.
Here is a transcript of the morning interview that appeared on ESPN Radio:
BO RYAN’S OPENING REMARKS:
“There’s a process for a player when they intend to transfer. There’s a process for a coach that the only option that a coach has if a player does not discuss with a coach why they are transferring then I owe it to the university, then OK, when they ask for permission to talk to a school, Mike, when you say block it’s simply we’re not granting it right now because we know that the student athlete will appeal and then they talk to an administrator. They don’t talk to me. So a coach is totally out of the process once the transfer begins. And I’m totally fine with the transfer. If that’s in the person’s best interest, but he did not tell me. He did not meet with me. He never met with me. He contacted me when my wife and I were on vacation. I said I would fly back but he said, ‘Coach I’m going to transfer,’ and I said, ‘OK. Well you think about, if you change your mind call me.’ That was it. There was no angst.
“Then, because I don’t have transfers. I ‘ve had one -- he ended up going to Dayton but I never got a request for certain schools except that he wanted to talk to Dayton. I’m like, ‘Fine, talk to Dayton.’ And that’s in the last 10 years, Mike. And none of that has been out there from what I understand. I don’t know how to deal with transfers like some other guys who do it a heck of a lot more often.
“So here’s what I did. I called some coaches. And I said, ‘Guys, what you do you do when a situation comes up like this?’ Every coach that I talked to said, ‘Coach, you block the conference.’ You say, OK. Then any schools, especially if you’re in a major conference, if there are schools around and in a contiguous area, states that are close, close proximity, then OK. So the only schools that are in that area that he had on this list were Marquette and Iowa State. Good schools, good people. I’ve got no problem with that. DePaul wasn’t. So if you take the conference and you take those schools, then I just heard you say it expanded, over the next 3-4 years we’re going to play different teams in the ACC. So here’s what a coach does. You have to tell an administrator why you want to go to a particular school in the ACC. If Florida was on the list, ‘OK, you have to come in and tell the administrator why you want to go to that.’
“As a coach, Mike, how come nobody understands our process in this? We simply say, this is what you have to appeal because we know that’s your right, so then you go talk to the administrator. As a coaches association, and I’ve talked to Jim Haney at the NABC, the coaches are so proud with the way I’ve handled this for this reason. What other option does a coach have if they don’t quite understand why a person is transferring? A person red-shirted last year. No issues, no problems, nothing. He told me on the phone how much he respected the program and everything, and I was fine with that. Perfectly fine with the transfer. By him not calling me back, I had no issue with it. And everybody around here knows that. But this has taken on with accusations. Everybody remembers the accusations, but very few people in life remember the outcome. So what we’ve done is, we’ve given a young man a chance to go appeal the schools that he really wants to go to. That’s all we can do.”
“You’re talking about the next step, but let’s talk about the first step of you have the choice. Your quote is it’s the rule. There’s rules of the scholarship, I didn’t make them up. Nobody says you did. But nobody says … it’s a process, but you started the process by blocking him from all these schools. For whatever reason, he doesn’t want to go there anymore. I don’t know what the reason is. So people are thinking because you blocked him from so many schools it’s a vindictive move on your part. Even for whatever reason he doesn’t want to go there anymore. Why is it so hard for a coach to just say, ‘You know what, it’s not working out here anymore? You go play where you want to play. Maybe just not in our conference. But you play where you want to play.’ Why all the restrictions? That’s what started all this.”
“You played. You’re an athlete. You practiced with somebody every day. Your players, your coaches. You worked with someone in good faith. You’re in the trenches and you’re going to say that, without any question, without any conversation, you say anytime somebody wants to leave a job. You what people don’t know, Mike, is you have in your contract that if you leave where you are, is there any penalty?”
“We’re employees. We get paid Bo, we’re employees. We have a non-compete clause. This is a student-athlete.”
“This is a scholarship.”
“OK. When they sign the scholarship, there’s fine ink, there’s fine print on that paper that isn’t even really that fine, it’s very readable. And everybody understands that. If you played Mike, you at least would understand what I talk about when you go through practices, when you travel with a team, when you do that, if you can honestly sit there Mike and say that somebody transferred from where you played, and there was never a conversation about it, it was just go do what you want to do. I am, in my position, I’m a guy who after years and years and decades of coaches doing this same thing, way before me, and coaches who have had larger lists and you’re not going after them you’re not making a big deal of other situations … I don’t know of anybody who has taken the time to research how many schools that a coach says, ‘OK, this is a little questionable, I’m not sure about this.’ So when you say you block it, all you’re saying is, ‘There has to be conversation about it.’ So Mike you’re asking me if somebody wants to leave there’s never a question …”
“Coach, I never said that there wouldn’t be a question, but it’s also interesting that you basketball and football coaches can sign a seven-year extension and then the next year be working at one of those schools you blocked the kid from going to. How fair is that?”
“I know that’s the easy way to go.”
“You’re in the same trenches practicing every single day like you’re saying I wouldn’t know about, you’re in the trenches with those kids every single day in that same practice and the next day you can leave. Is it so horrible to the kids who are in those trenches and the next day they want to leave?”
“I knew what you’re going to say now is. You’re going to say a coach doesn’t have a penalty on a buyout. How about this guys? How about the AD walking in your office and saying you’re no longer able to work here, we’re firing you?”
“But doesn’t he have to pay you the rest of your contract?”
“Depends on the contract. It depends on the wording of the contract and how much.”
“Listen, I’ve never heard of a contract where you don’t get paid if you’re fired. If you sign a 10-year contract and they fire you after the third year, you don’t get the rest of the seven years pay?”
“There are people who do not, yes. Not everybody does. It depends on the wording in the contract. And to the amount. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Here’s the thing. I didn’t create the market. I didn’t create what it seems there are people that want to go after the rule. I understand that. I’m on the board of directors with the coaches as I mentioned. We talk about issues all the time. I’m perfectly fine with an educated conversation, dialogue about a rule. But what has happened here is, it’s become an attack on a particular institution when over the years, 300 and some institutions have done the same thing. So all that I’m asking is for fairness in that there isn’t anything that I did that can’t be handled with the appeal which has been granted and he’s going to appeal so I understand the rest of the this Mike and Mike. So if it’s specific to me what are you saying? Are you accusing me of something that isn’t in the process?”
“No, no one is doing that. But because it’s in the process … We’re up against a break here.”
After commercial …
“Coach I think the question what a lot are saying is if you don’t have a problem with him transferring, then what is the reason for making him go through the appeal in the first place? It is your right through the NCAA, but it is not an obligation. So I think the question many, including us, are asking, is why put the restrictions there that he has to appeal in the first place if you don’t have an issue with him transferring?”
“Well, because of, as a representative of this university, in my position as head coach, there’s a lot more here at Wisconsin with the university, with the administration, and the other sports. Like I said, there’s 300 and some Division I institutions in the last three years, at least the last five years, have had guys transfer with more restrictions on them than arms.”
“So they have. Does that make it the right thing to do, in your mind, is it the right thing to do to the young man? If he has chosen not to play?”
“This is what is suggested to me and here’s what I’ve heard from all the coaches about. ‘At least, coach, you were willing to take the stand, that if the young man does not want to talk to the head coach directly.’ And it’s not like he said anything derogatory about the program and that has not been an issue. But I owe it to the institution, to my team, to the players in the program, to our students here at Wisconsin, to our Wisconsin fans, and to college fans in general that if I’m saying, ‘OK, if somebody wants to transfer, can I have a little bit better idea of why and if it’s a particular school, let’s hear it?’ Guys there has never been any angst over our part here with any of that.
“So it’s by this happening and this coming out the way it has, a lot of the facts weren’t given. The process wasn’t discussed. Now if you’re talking about if that’s the process, are you asking me should the process be changed? That takes a heck of a lot more than one coach saying, ‘Let’s look at this.’ I can say that, because I’m on a lot of these issues with the board. So we cover a lot of these things. So if the young is going to leave, we spent a lot of time recruiting, we spend a lot of time, he’s spent here as a student-athlete for the year and I just think that for the university, for the people I’m responsible for, here is my question? Can you tell, because we’re not in on the appeal, a coach is not in on the appeal, could you then please go tell the administrator? Just tell our administration, and our guys are fine. Everybody knows the situation here. There’s no problem."But it when it becomes one school that puts a restriction on a young man to make the school look bad or try to put anybody here in a bad light, I think that’s very unfair journalism from this standpoint. I am doing what every other coach in the country has done. So when you say, why not just let him go, he can go. He is gone. He is going to transfer. But maybe, maybe the only thing we have as coaches is OK, could you just please then, you appeal it which they know they can, and then you go have a conversation. I don’t see where that is a problem.”