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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pro/Con: Was Withey’s transfer denial justified?

    Pro: Livengood does what’s best for the program
    By Bryan Roy, assistant sports editor

    Make this clear: Jeff Withey’s decision to leave the Arizona men’s basketball program is what it is. Regardless of what others speculate, nobody really knows why Withey left, nor should they.

    Plenty of 18-year-olds make decisions and change their minds, whether you’re a pre-business major or high profile basketball recruit.

    Out of respect to his privacy, it’s certainly none of our business.

    That said, UA athletic director Jim Livengood made the right decision by not granting Withey a release from his Letter of Intent.

    That’s not saying Withey abandoned the team or made the wrong choice. The bottom line is that Livengood’s ruling certainly reflects the best interests of the program.

    Since all students have the right to full academic privacy, there’s no telling whether Withey’s grades would cost the UA a scholarship if he immediately transferred. That’s obviously a logical reason as to why Livengood wants Withey to stay at Arizona the entire year.

    But nevertheless, it’s still the safest move out of respect for the Academic Progress Rate and maintaining credibility in the program.

    Under the APR, student-athletes petitioning a transfer must leave school under good academic standings to avoid a penalty to the program – they must be projected to graduate in four years, which means not failing classes while enrolling in at least the minimum amount of units.

    Such was the case with Laval Lucas-Perry, who left last December as a great student and transferred to Michigan after one semester. Arizona granted Lucas-Perry the release since his first semester grades had already been recorded and completed.

    At this point in time, as all of us students know, roughly five weeks remain in the semester, which is plenty of time to screw up.

    Pennell told the media Tuesday that he and Withey have been in constant contact solely for non-basketball purposes, just making sure that the 7-footer was attending class.

    Livengood met with Withey and his parents Monday night. Then Tuesday night, Withey’s Facebook status said, “”whats a man to do????””

    Withey needs to do what’s best for himself, while Livengood needs to do what’s best for the program.

    That’s what a man is to do.

    Con: Put yourself in Withey’s head
    By Lance Madden, sports editor

    Who wouldn’t be upset when a four-star player, just under 7 feet tall, decides he wants to abandon his team in the wake of his Hall of Fame coach’s retirement?

    Add the fact that freshman Jeff Withey wanted to bolt before the season even began, and many words could be uttered: selfish, dramatic and foolish.

    But when it comes down to it, you’ve got to put yourself inside of Withey’s head, and ask why he would want to transfer from a prestigious basketball program that he would most likely start for.

    Brandon Jennings never played a game for the Wildcats because of academic troubles and a chance to become an instant star in Europe. Emmanuel Negedu never donned the Cardinal and Navy because of a lack of stability within the UA coaching staff.

    Withey decided to bolt two months into his freshman year of college after Olson’s retirement. But how do we know that was the only reason?

    Fellow freshman Garland Judkins hinted that Withey’s request to be released from his Letter of Intent was more internal.

    “”He just went through a lot with his family,”” Judkins said of Withey. “”A lot of the stuff that happened is family-oriented. We’re just trying to move forward without him, because obviously he won’t be there.””

    You’ve got to wonder how severe his family issues are. UA athletic director Jim Livengood didn’t release Withey from his Letter of Intent, but he did so when Laval Lucas-Perry asked to transfer to Michigan after a semester with the Wildcats last season. And Lucas-Perry’s biggest issue was, from what we know, homesickness.

    But that was back when Arizona still had hopes of its legendary coach returning and stars like Jawann McClellan, Chase Budinger and Jerryd Bayless to rely on.

    Now Withey is forced to spend a year at a school where he’d rather not be, watching a team he won’t be a part of because Livengood wouldn’t grant him a release.

    Who’s the real selfish one here?

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