When Cheating Really Isn’t Cheating

 By: Evan Jankens

Well, Wisconsin is at it again! They got a transfer QB, former Maryland QB Danny O’Brien, who will assumingly start for them this upcoming season. O’Brien is another Russell Wilson-type who graduated from Maryland — even though it was early, he still has two years of eligibility left to play at another division one program. He chose Wisconsin. Maybe I am bitter because they are in the same division as MSU, maybe it’s because I knew Wisconsin was going to be weak at QB with Joe Brennan and Joel Stave the only healthy QB’s on their roster for spring ball. Hey I guess I can’t blame Wisconsin for taking advantage of the situation and at least he didn’t come from playing pro baseball like Wilson did. I just wish this wasn’t even a rule.


The reason I say I wish this wasn’t a rule because it’s unfair to the majority of college athletes. Let’s say I choose to go to Michigan this upcoming year and they offer me a full ride (Hey, this is my blog, not yours.) I get to Michigan, play in the first game and I say to myself ‘I really don’t like this Brady Hoke’ —  I can’t just up and leave and play the following year at another university in division one. No I would have to sit out the following year because I transferred. Isn’t transferring the same deal that O’Brien has and he doesn’t have to sit out the year? No, he doesn’t. He is being rewarded for already graduating and Wisconsin having a graduate program that Maryland doesn’t have. Is this a HUGE loop hole? Yes, it is for sure. Why should the kid who goes to one school but then chooses it’s not the right fit for him have to suffer and sit out a full year. I completely understand that kids may take advantage of the deal if they could just transfer year after year. There has to be something that changes in the rule.


You can look at Russell Wilson, who transferred to Wisconsin last year from NC State after spending a year playing professional baseball in the Colorado Rockies minor league system. You might think “didn’t he get paid for playing pro baseball?” Yes he did, but for some reason and I can’t seem to find the reason, he was allowed. Now there was another circumstance that the NCAA didn’t allow another athlete to do the same thing. Enter Jeremy Bloom, who was a WR at Colorado and at the same time was an Olympic skier. The NCAA wouldn’t allow Bloom to compete in the Olympics and play for Colorado. In 2006 Bloom challenged the NCAA to allow him to finish his final two years at Colorado after the Olympics, but the NCAA deemed him permanently ineligible because he accepted sponsor money while competing to make the Olympics. How is that any different from Russell Wilson playing pro ball in the Rockies organization? I’m still waiting for an answer on that one and if you have the answer feel free to email me at evan.jankens@cbsradio.com


So is what Wisconsin doing cheating? No, not at all they are simply playing by the rules. I guess I can’t be too upset since Michigan State used the same rule to get Brandon Wood who played 4 years at Valpo before transferring to MSU. In the grand scheme of things, I wish MSU wouldn’t have signed Wood since he really didn’t bring too much to the team and may have hurt the development of young guys on the team but that’s for another blog. I guess what I’m trying to say is the NCAA needs to do something about this, maybe that kid should have to sit out a year just like any other transfer; maybe it would make these kids think twice about taking advantage of the rule. Leave me a comment below and let me know if I’m completely off base, maybe you have another idea or hell maybe I’m right on, either way let me know.

  • Tbird

    Hes being rewarded for being smart enough and working hard enough to graduate early. Why not. But I do agree that they need to do away with that sit out a year rule. Before anyone complains that the students would take advantage remember these schools are making millions off of these star athletes. I think the player should be rewarded for graduating early. Its not his fault that maryland doesnt have a graduate program.

  • bill

    A student should not be forced to go to grad school where he did his undergrad just because he has the talent to get an athletic scholorship.

  • bill

    I think the requirement that any athlete sits out a year should only be applicable IF the student is on a 4-year (not a renewing 1-year) scholarship.

    The traditional 1 year athletic scholarship allows the school to dump the student without any restrictions, the student should have the same ability to cut ties with the school regardless of his (or her) graduation status. Even in the case of a 4-year scholarship, a student should have the ability to transfer if any coach involved in his recruitment leaves.

  • Ryan

    Hate to nitpick, but Wood wasn’t at Valpo for 4 years. He only played at Valpo for two years. He was at SIU for his freshman year, transferred, sat out a year at Valpo, graduated after his 4th year of college, and finished his 4th year of eligibility while in graduate school at MSU. He was on both sides of this transfer issue, as he sat out a year before he could play at Valpo, and was then able to play immediately after transferring to MSU.

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