Bo Ryan defends blocking transfer
Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan responded Thursday to criticism of his decision to block Jarrod Uthoff from transferring to at least 25 schools, saying he was "doing what every other coach in the country has done."
The Badgers coach came under fire after it was revealed he put together an unusually large list of schools that are barred from contacting the 6-foot-8 freshman, who announced his intention to leave Madison last week.
Under NCAA rules, a transferring player cannot speak to other schools until those schools have been granted permission by the player's current university.
"I didn't create the market," Ryan said on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike In the Morning" on Thursday. "It seems there are people who want to go after the rule. I'm perfectly fine with an educated conversation about a rule, but what has happened here is it has become an attack on a particular institution, when over the years, 300 and some institutions have done the same thing."
Uthoff, who appealed the release restrictions, was scheduled to meet with university officials Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Cedar Rapids native, who was named Iowa's "Mr. Basketball" as a high school senior, chose the Badgers over Iowa, Iowa State, Butler, Virginia and Northwestern. He redshirted his freshman season, but was expected to be a contributor for Wisconsin.
According to Scout.com, his decision to leave the program shocked Ryan, with Uthoff saying he wanted to play in a more up-tempo offensive system.
Ryan claimed the main reason behind his move to limit Uthoff's transfer opportunities involved his desire to have an in-depth conversation with the freshman forward about his desire to leave Wisconsin.
"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," Ryan said.
"But maybe the only thing we have as coaches is, OK could you just please then... appeal it, which they know they can, and then you go have a conversation. And I don't see where that is a problem."
Ryan was questioned Thursday whether he understood how his attempt to interfere with Uthoff's transfer could be perceived as vindictive.
"Do you have in your contract that if you leave where you are, is there any penalty?" he asked the ESPN radio hosts in response.
"This is a scholarship. When they sign the scholarship, there's fine print on that paper, that isn't even that fine. It's very readable. And everybody understands that."
Among the schools Ryan has barred from contacting Uthoff are all fellow Big Ten schools, all ACC schools, Iowa State and in-state rival Marquette.