Former Austin High star in middle of controversy

You may have heard the recent stories out of Wisconsin and Tulsa where coaches refused to grant players a release from their scholarship in order to restrict their choice of schools. Former Austin High star Eric McClellan found himself in the middle of this maelstrom, getting mention on ESPN and other media outlets.

First, Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan became sport enemy #1 when he restricted freshman Jarrod Ulthoff from transferring to any Big Ten school (which is normal), PLUS any ACC school, PLUS Iowa State and Marquette. The outcry was so great that Wisconsin relented and will now allow the player to transfer to any non-Big Ten school. (read story)

Then Tulsa and new coach Danny Manning said their leading scorer, Jordan Clarkson, would be allowed to transfer to only 3 from a list of 8 schools the player submitted to the university. And, get this, NONE of the schools were in Tulsa’s conference, Conference USA. In other words, “Jordan, you can go to TCU, Colorado or Vanderbilt but since you want to leave us, we want to make sure you never get the chance at an elite program So no, Texas, Texas A & M, Arizona, Baylor, Missouri is not allowed. We’re limiting your options.” Here’s where Eric McClellan, who averaged 8.5 points and started 16 games for the Goldern Hurricane, comes in. Eric also wanted to transfer but initially Tulsa refused to release him from his scholarship. Later, they relented. NBC Sports story Watch to see if these stories begin a backlash against big money college athletics and the way they treat their student athletes. Orangebloods.com story

Here’s the deal. The student athlete gets the privilege of a scholarship at the university they choose when they are only 17 or 18 years old. They don’t really know what it will be like, away at college. On the other hand, universities pay their coaches millions of dollars. These coaches come and go pretty much as they please. They have buy outs but usually their new employer will pay that so they can get the coach of their dreams. So, Tulsa fires the coach that recruited McClellan and Clarkson and bring in the new guy. Then the university has the audacity to attempt to restrict the young men from freely going elsewhere? And maybe Manning doesn’t want to see the star player show up at a university that rivals his former team (Kansas)?

Try this on for size. When Eric committed to Tulsa he told the InsideTulsaSports.com “just committed to Tulsa,” McClellan told the website. “It was just the overall feel. I really trust the coaching staff, and I believe they are honest.” Well, now that coaching staff is gone! Fired! See Austin American-Statesman story

Eric McClellan was a great player at Austin High where he average 14.7 points a game as a senior. I wish him great success in the future.

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59 Responses to “Former Austin High star in middle of controversy”

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