Florida International Bans Dominique Ferguson from Transferring

Brian KinelCorrespondent IIIApril 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10:  Head coach Bo Ryan of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with his players during a timeout against the ms during their Semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Florida International will not be outdone. Last week, Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan was chewed up and spit out for banning Jarrod Uthoff from transferring to 25 schools. FIU, deciding they wanted some of that, has told Dominique Ferguson that he can’t transfer and receive a scholarship. Anywhere. I’ll wait while you read it again….. I know. I had to read it three times myself. There’s no misunderstanding here. They won’t let him transfer anywhere.

Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment—sure sounds more important than Athletic Director, doesn’t it?—Pete Garcia made the decision. University President Mark Rosenberg then upheld the decision after Ferguson’s appeal.

Ferguson decided to transfer after FIU fired coach Isiah Thomas. He is from Indianapolis and would like to be closer to his family after seeing them just five times in the last three years. Ferguson was a top 20 high school recruit and originally committed to Kentucky. When Billy Gillispie was fired, Ferguson changed his mind and eventually chose Florida International over schools like Indiana and Louisville, whose assistant coach, Richard Pitino, has just succeeded Thomas at FIU.

He chose FIU to play for Thomas. Don’t hold that against this young kid.

To say this is outrageous is quite an understatement. These words aren’t exactly flowing from my fingertips because the ones that are can’t be put on these pages.

Save your comment about the kid choosing a school and not a coach. If it worked that way, these coaches wouldn’t get paychecks with so many zeroes.

There’s no excuse for this. None. This is all about FIU protecting its turf and trying to make sure that other schools don’t whisper in their players’ ears. This is about FIU worrying about losing a point in the APR, which could lead to a postseason ban as it has for Connecticut next season. I don’t care.

The NCAA needs to fix this. I’m no lawyer, but I do have some experience with payroll and the issue of being an employee versus an independent contractor. The IRS has criteria for determining that, and I don’t understand why someone hasn’t put together a class action suit to have college athletes declared employees of the institution they attend. The span of control exercised by the institution is completely over the line.

Dominique Ferguson has submitted paperwork to be eligible for the upcoming NBA draft. With two-year averages of 8 points and 5.6 rebounds, he shouldn’t plan on hearing his name called. He’s said that he will explore the option of playing overseas as well.

I’ve written about a lot of emotional topics over the years. I’m not sure any has angered me as much as this one. A week after the Uthoff issue? Really, FIU? Garcia and Rosenberg, how do you justify this? I’d love to hear your explanation.