In comments to an Illinois radio station picked up by ESPN’s David Ubben, Wes Lunt revealed that Mike Gundy had granted permission to contact many of the schools the Oklahoma State head coach had initially denied when Lunt asked to transfer. This appears to be the pattern, where the coach goes as far as he can with the denials, the player pushes back, often through the media, and the two work out something more reasonable. But this comment from Lunt is distressing:
“It was difficult. I didn’t understand the process, so when they were blocked, I knew I could appeal but it was going to take awhile,” Lunt said.
Appeals of transfer restrictions are supposed to be clear processes that do not take “awhile”. According to NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199.1, when an institution denies a student-athlete’s request for permission to contact another institution about a transfer, they must notify him or her in writing of the decision and the opportunity for an appeal. That appeal must be conducted and a decision issued within 15 business days after the student-athlete submits a written request for an appeal.
But schools are injecting roadblocks into what should be a clear, professional process. Witness Jarrod Uthoff’s “appeal” last year, which was not outside the athletic department, as Bylaw 188.8.131.52.1 requires, but with Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez and associate AD Justin Doherty. While these types of steps can resolve transfer disputes in a less adversarial manner, they also delay the formal requests that set into motion the NCAA’s strict timeframes.
The process the NCAA lays out in the permission-to-contact request bylaws is straightforward. The athlete submits a written request, the school has seven business days to grant or deny permission, the athlete appeals any denial, and the school has 15 business days to complete the appeal. Despite the rigid timeline, Uthoff’s experience and Lunt’s confusion suggest even more NCAA oversight is needed if permission to contact is to remain part of the transfer process.