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They Low Down, They Dirty and They Some Snitches


The worst rule in college athletics (and there are many) is the one that allows schools to hold potential transfers hostage as to their final destination. Even though coaches are free to leave to go to other Universities at the drop of a hat, if a player would like to start his college career elsewhere, college football programs can prevent that player from playing for a new team for at least two seasons. It allows Universities to essentially hold kids as hostages. Either you stay at their school, and risk getting no playing time at the whims of your particular coach, or they can control which schools you can transfer to and what your future will be.

Take the case of Wide Receiver De’Anthony Arnett, who has been a player for Tennessee. The speedster is from Michigan and his father is currently very ill, causing Arnett to want to transfer close to home. Pretty simple right? However Tennessee is refusing to allow him to transfer to the top schools in his area.. From an article on the issue:

In the school’s first official comments since news broke Wednesday that the freshman was seeking a release from his scholarship to be closer to his ailing father in Saginaw, Mich., UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton laid out why Arnett would not be able to transfer to a school such as Michigan, Michigan State or any other big-name program.

“We’re not denying him a release to be near his family, get a good education and play Division I football at the same time, but we do have a policy of not releasing players to schools we either play or recruit against,” Stanton said Thursday. “Where he’s from, there are several good D-I schools nearby that would be good options to play football, get a good education and keep him near his family.”

In an e-mail sent to multiple media outlets, including the News Sentinel, Arnett detailed his father’s battle with a lung disease, his family’s financial troubles and his desire to land with either the Wolverines or Spartans. Arnett added that coach Derek Dooley indicated UT would allow him to transfer to schools in the Mid-American Conference.

“… If I wanted to attend The University of Michigan and Michigan State University then I would have to pay for school instead of be on the Scholorship (sic),” Arnett wrote. “I dont know whats next my family cant afford to pay for school and my father health reason isnt good enough excuse for me to attend a BCS school close to home. (According to coach dooley).

“Therefore as a student athlete I feel coach dooley is trying to hinder my success by not allowing me to compete at a bcs level! And he’s neglecting the fact that my father is severely ill.”

Arnett wrote that his mother, Virginia, was only able to attend one of his games this past season. Nearby Division I schools at Arnett’s disposal that would not be eliminated by UT’s parameters include Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo and Bowling Green.

“I never imagined being unable to have my dad at any games or me being able to see him as he endures his battle with health,” Arnett wrote. “Yes I want to play football but I NEED to be here for my dad and with my family.”

There is simply no excuse for Dooley and Tennessee’s actions. It is bad enough that a kid seeking a fresh start or simply a change in location has to deal with the absurdity of this NCAA rule. But for Dooley and UT to hold a player hostage who wants to be close to his sick father is beyond outrageous. What difference does it make to Derek Dooley and the Vols where Arnett plays while being close to his parents? Is it simply because they might theoretically have to recruit against the Wolverines or Spartans? Because his father was unfortunate enough to become ill, Dooley now gets to make sure he plays in the MAC instead of the Big Ten?

College athletics is occasionally analogized to modern day slavery by columnists seeking to engage in hyperbole while making otherwise valid points. But allowing a coach to control a student’s future for two years after he leaves the school for no other reason than a theoretical recruiting hinderance makes one wonder if occasionally such analogies do hit their targets.

Article written by Matt Jones

45 Comments for They Low Down, They Dirty and They Some Snitches

  1. curtis_d
    7:25 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    I know we all hate Tenn, but damn. This is the most petty thing I’ve ever heard. Just more reason to hate. # TennisNOWHERE

  2. Wildcatjim
    7:27 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Local sports talk shows here in Knoxville are saying the only reason he’s leaving is cause Charlie Baggett is gone. Family doesn’t like the way he was treated.

  3. JoeC
    7:32 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Who cares why he’s leaving? The scholarships are only one-year deals, so he fulfilled his end of the bargain. The fact that schools HAVE to grant permission for a student-athlete to transfer is beyond idiotic, anyway, but when they are preventing them from going to a school in a totally different conference is ridiculous.

  4. UkMattnHawaii
    7:34 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    That is horrible. What does UK do when situations arise like this? Hopefully not UTs rules. GO BIG BLUE!!!!

    7:39 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Tennessee’s football program has really fallen off the face of the earth the past 5 years.

  6. bmt22033
    7:46 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Another reason why these elite level athletes should consider the idea of a “financial aid agreement” vs accepting a scholarship ala Brandon Knight (assuming that the school is willing to do it, of course).

  7. bung
    7:47 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink


  8. Mr Schwump
    7:49 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Never have understood why a school wants to keep somebody who doesn’t want to be there.

  9. Flyingfishman
    7:53 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

  10. Ratchet
    7:55 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Stacey Poole was allowed to leave while UK basically lost the scholarship. Anyone who wants to bash Cal can add this to the list of reasons why they can blow me.

  11. Vinny Hardy
    7:56 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    They did the late Aaron Douglas the same way. Sent him half way around the world. He had to go to some obscure Arizona school for a year before going to Alabama like he wanted. Unbelievable.

  12. UK34
    7:58 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    They sure didn’t mind accepting Tyler Smith into school for the same reason.

  13. Cat fan
    8:04 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    As if I needed another reason to dislike UT……

  14. SagaciousMind
    8:08 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    12, and JP Prince. UT is a joke.

  15. Shawon
    8:10 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    So what if the real reason Arnett wants to transfer is because the WR coach retired? Tennessee should let him transfer wherever he wants anyway. UT should have hired Tee Martin as their WR coach if they wanted to keep Arnett, but they didn’t and that is their loss and our gain.

  16. perryan3
    8:19 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Dooley…do what’s right! Free DeAnt Arnett!!

  17. Carl
    8:24 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Great point UK34. UT is the scum of the SEC.

  18. Calipari'sInYourEar
    8:31 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Let Tennessee be the person we have always known they were. Let them do this.

    Once the word spreads around amongst the recruits of the future classes, UT will be blackballed.

    If someone is digging their grave, let them. They know what’s right for them.

  19. UKTROY
    8:39 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    This is a joke! Every school in America should use this against them. It’s not like he’s going to Fla,LSU or bama. Tennessee SUCKS!

  20. Ghostofbearbryant
    8:43 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Barnhart refuses to release FB fans from Jokerball

  21. shiver
    8:46 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #$$$$$$. Schools that Ut outbid will not be aquiring that student athlete for discount in future.

  22. macon_volfan
    8:46 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Not the whole story, as normal. I don’t particularly care one way or the other, but it’s not like this is all mean Dooley, poor DeAnthony. This is not uncommon for anyone.

    Regarding the Tyler Smith question, UT wasn’t on the list of schools he couldn’t transfer to, so it’s not the same deal.

  23. Another Perspective
    9:35 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Oh, yeah, Maconvolfan? What are we missing? You have the missing parts? There is no justification. Let the kid go.

  24. bigheadlittlehead
    10:02 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt Roark needs to go beat on UT some more.

  25. best1978
    10:08 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Why would anybody go to Tennessee?

  26. rixter719
    10:11 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    So, Tennessee says they will release the kid as long as they get to pick his next school?

    Stay classy, U.T.

  27. Steve Fitts
    10:16 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Amen, Matt Jones! My sentiments exactly!

  28. Sargasm
    10:22 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Who knows, maybe after Joker blows it again this year, they can just swap him and T Martin around and try that for a change!

  29. Bubba Earl
    10:26 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Thug Nation at it again!!

  30. wildcat t
    10:53 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    tennessee = SORRY !!!!!!!!!

  31. Greg
    11:48 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    You guys need to stop worrying about what UT is doing and start getting a head start on designing this year’s UK Elite Eight t-shirt.

  32. Flyingfishman
    11:52 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #31 and you should get busy on your “All inclusive 64” t-shirt or how about a “Beat Morehead” t-shirt?

  33. BamaCat
    12:14 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Outside of close friends and family, no one here knows the REAL reason DA wants his release. It’s been reported that he has been in contact with at least 5 UM players about wanting to transfer, after Coach Baggett retired from UT (the coach who recruited him). DA’s dad has been sick for a while and was at the time DA signed with UT…this didn’t ‘creep’ up on him. UT is doing well on the recruiting trail and DA may get buried in the depth chart, Coach Baggett retired, are two reasons, I think, are weighing on DA’s decision, just as much as being near his dad. If being near his dad is the main concern, why be so picky on going to UM? If you’re good, you can go be good at any school and get noticed. IMO though, let the kid go if he doesn’t want to be there at UT. Why make this an issue?

  34. TheColoradoWildcat
    1:34 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe some of the national sports writers will pick this mess up and start reporting about it. Nothing like “peer” pressure to make thinks work properly.

    If you did not understand why Tennessee was “sorry-a$$ed” before, this should help with that understanding.

  35. tennessee wildcat
    2:09 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    #21 could be right about this. I’m sure that is going on a lot more than we know. It would have to be something along the paying lines, because why would UT care where he goes since it is not the SEC? Heck, the only other time that I remember a school really balking about a player going elsewhere was when Lawrence Funderburke wanted to transfer from Indiana University to the cats and Bobby Knight said no! Knight was all right with Funderburke going to Ohio State, though. Oh well, Please free this kid! For principal, if it were me, I would just sit out a year and then become eligible to go where I wanted to, if that is possible. The rules change over the years, and I am not totally sure if you can still do this.

  36. SexNDayCares
    4:30 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe his dad would get better if he stopped “battling health.”

  37. the barzel
    5:58 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Pathetic on UT’s part…..who cares why the kid is transferring. Hypothetically, if Marquis Teague decided he wasn’t going pro and had enough with UK at the end of the year, and he wanted to transfer to IU or UL, I would upset but I wouldn’t care which school he went to. I would become very anti-Teague, but there is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to go to one of those schools.

  38. Hop
    6:36 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t know who UT thinks they are but they are now recruiting against those MAC schools NOT Meechigan or MSU! Pathetic that schools have the option to not renew a kids scholarship with no justification but can stop them from going where they want for 2 yrs.

  39. Bleedin'Blue
    8:38 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    This story sound a lot like a story I saw linked on ASOB about a transfer from St. Joe’s BBall to UAB that Phil Martelli won’t give his release so he can play. Pretty darn petty if you ask me.

  40. Doug
    10:07 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    I hope that Cal has a patent on the Players First slogan. Sounds like UT is trying to weasel in on the concept. HA HA!

  41. best1978
    10:57 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    This would have to hurt UT recruiting.

  42. BamaGradinTn
    12:45 pm December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Macon Volfan, who the hell made the list? Dooley did. He could just as easily left UM and MSU off the list. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that it’s EXACTLY the same as Tyler Smith’s situation in that regard. Oh, sure, there may be some other issues behind the scenes. But Iowa gave Smith the exact same waiver that Dooley is now refusing to give Arnett…and Tennessee basketball benefitted in a HUGE way because of it. It makes Tennessee look uncompassionate, and Vol fans who support this look like idiots.

  43. BamaGradinTn
    12:49 pm December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Seriously…Iowa could just as easily told Tyler Smith that he couldn’t go to Tennessee, Memphis, or Vandy because they recruit against them. But they didn’t. Smith played immediately in 2007-08, led the Vols in assists, rebounding, and FG percentage, and the Vols won 31 games and went to the Sweet Sixteen.

    I’ll say it again…the Tennesse athletic department is hypocritical, and Vol fans who want to dismiss Tyler Smith’s transfer as not being relevant are just fools with blinders on.

  44. wildcatcrazy
    1:33 pm December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Lot’s of posts here and I know this was mentioned at some level but the hipocracy here as it relates to Tyler Smith’s situation needs to be brought forth—by KSR.

    Tyler Smith’s Dad was ill and UT accepted him (from Michigan?) so he could be closer to his ailing father–whom has since died I believe.

    An now–UT won’t do the same thing in reverse?

    This should be a national story–UT or no UT.

  45. Blueneck
    4:21 pm December 31, 2011 Permalink

    It’s amazing what the national press doesn’t pick up on. Sometimes I wonder if they all have interns ghost writing for them.