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PR Bungle: Dooley Won’t Give Vol WR Arnett A Free Pass To Transfer

Derek Dooley is developing quite the reputation for being a stickler.  Maybe that’s just the lawyer in him.  But Tennessee’s head coach is now — for the third time — putting his foot down when it comes to a player looking to transfer.

Yesterday, freshman receiver DeAnthony Arnett let it be known that he wants to return to his home state of Michigan to be closer to his father, whose poor health has worsened in recent months.

Soon after, UT announced that Dooley would not allow Arnett to have a free pass out of town.  According to an email the player sent to the media, Michigan and Michigan State are off limits to him:

“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.  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.”

Sidenote — It’s ridiculous what Twitter and texting are doing to the English language.  Do kids even know what an apostrophe is anymore?

Back to the topic, Dooley appears A-OK with Arnett heading to the Mid-American Conference, but he doesn’t want him going to a football power.  Here’s a UT spokesperson’s take on the situation:

“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.”

Outside of bowl games — and Dooley didn’t have to worry about that one this year — the Vols don’t meet up with the Wolverines and Spartans often.  In fact, in more than a century of football, UT has played Michigan once and State never.  And it’s not as if Tennessee squares off with great regularity against those schools on the recruiting trail, either.

Admittedly, no one can be sure if Arnett is seeking a transfer just because he wants to be near his father.  Rumors suggest he was tight with departed receivers coach Charlie Baggett.  So maybe he wants out because he’s disgruntled.  And it’s also possible that UT coaches feel Michigan or MSU might have tampered with the player.  Who knows?

But for Dooley, this is a PR battle he doesn’t need to fight right now.  He’s already played hardball with two players who wanted to transfer when he took over — Lane Kiffin-signee Bryce Brown and Phillip Fulmer-signee Aaron Douglas both met major resistance in their attempts to leave Knoxville.  Now Arnett is getting the same treatment and not everyone on the Tennessee messageboards is thrilled about it.

Nick Saban — who Dooley served under — and Les Miles can get away with being tough guys in these types of matters because they win.  Dooley hasn’t.  So he’s not getting universal support in his decision to block a player whose father is sick from playing at a big school (which could aid Arnett’s professional aspirations).

We view it as another public relations misstep for a coach who lost at Kentucky to close the season and then decided to go into silent mode.  Many ornery Vol fans have voiced their displeasure with their coach’s disappearance since November.

Dooley should be worried about winning with the guys he’s got.  If a kid wants to transfer because he’s homesick or his playing time isn’t what he’d hoped, fine, he should hold onto him.  But this one looks bad.  And UT fans are split over their coach’s move.

That’s not what Dooley needs right now.  Because if he doesn’t start winning in 2012, he might spend the next few years of his career in the MAC right along with Arnett.

 


21 comments
AGator
AGator

I thought the rules were that any player could transfer and be eligible to play after sitting out one year. There is also an SEC rule that a player has to sit out two years if a player transfers to another SEC school but the school the player is leaving can waive enforcing that rule. Did I misunderstand the rules or have they changed?

I think I remember UF telling players they are free to transfer to any school not on UF's schedule while that player would be eligible. If a player is kicked off the UF team UF doesn't place any restrictions on where they transfer. I vaguely remember UF telling a player they didn't want them to transfer to FSU so that might mean my understanding is faulty on the one year rule I referred to above.

I can understand having some restrictions on transfers. I wouldn't want top teams raiding the rosters of teams with worse records.

TexasVol
TexasVol

Another thing to remember about the whole situation: going back to Arnett's recruitment, he said himself that his father wasn't a factor in his decision, and he was sick then. He even said he and his father weren't that close. So, it's becoming more obvious he's just not happy and using his father's sickness to get back home, and now making UT look bad.

I love writers who overreact to everything, like the one on this site.

Rebar
Rebar

I think some of you are overlooking the fact that Arnett was close with his position coach, who decided to retire rather than put up with the DaRick. I don't blame the kid for leaving if Dooley doesn't have the spine to back his coach and not pamper a primma donna~

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

I don't know if this case is like the Rotnei Clarke case last Spring, but if it is then I'm very disappointed at this becoming an issue.

Last Spring, Hog basketball player Clarke did not want to play his senior season under Mike Anderson at Arkansas, so he requested a release. Arkansas AD Jeff Long said that no release would be given until Clarke spoke with Coach Anderson, who was out recruiting at the time. Impatient from waiting for Anderson to get back, Clarke's dad emailed CBS asking for a smear job on Arkansas, telling CBS that Anderson was refusing to let his son transfer. CBS ran a hateful story on the Hogs and Anderson.

When Anderson got back, he spoke with Clarke and released him immediately. The university was bewildered at the so-called PR disaster, saying they had every intention of releasing Clarke, they just wanted him to speak to the coach in person.

It would make since that Arnett is in Michigan for Christmas and because school is out, and Dooley is in Knoxville. It is also my understanding that Dooley asked to meet with Arnett in person next week to discuss this situation. If that's the case, Arnett has an ego problem and just wanted to make Tennessee look bad before his inevitable release.

If you have any evidence to the contrary, John, I'd certainly like to see it. If not, I'm disappointed at ESPN (as a independent contractor who occasionally works for them, I know they disappoint easily).

Statesman
Statesman

Hypocrisy jumps off the page. The College coaches have power, the university's president's and ADs lack courage and the student athletes is exploited. Just once I would like to see a university say to a BCS-conference coach when he decides to take another job that he is restricted to non-BCS schools. Would this fly? No the university would be afraid of a lawsuit, but they know student athletes lack the funds or time for a suit.

The NCAA neesd to establish an office that reviews and grants transfer request for all student athletes, because the coaches have proven to be petty, (see St. Joe's basketball). The amount of time and money spent on a recruit is not relevant because several thousands of dollars are spent on kids that select a different university. Why penalize the kid that signed but the kid that never signed and goes to another university. Did the vols sign every kid that they courted? Remember a signed contract doesn't mean much to a coach. They will leave in a year (see Graham at Pitt).

volroadwarrior
volroadwarrior

Typical media fare. Jump on a bandwagon. Push an agenda. Leave out facts that might support the other view. Say anything to push their viewpoints. The title is "Honest Opinion". It may be an opinion, but honestly stating it is a stretch. Our country is a real mess because the media hid a candidate's background and past associations. These twerp "sports reporters" practice the same "art".

ORLVOLSFAN77
ORLVOLSFAN77

Let's be honest here, DA's dad was sick before he signed on the dotted line with UT. My question is why the sudden change of heart? The answer is not his dad being ill, the answer is he is unhappy with the situation at UT currently.The reality of it is he is unhappy his position coach left and unhappy that he just got recruited over by Dooley with Pig Howard. He saw the writing on the wall and is attempting to manipulate the situation by using his father's health as an excuse and social media. It sickens me that he would use his father in this way.

TexasVol
TexasVol

Wow, here's a surprise, you writing an anti-Dooley piece. What a shocker, doesn't this get old?

1. If Arnett's decision was based soley on him wanting to be close to his dad (which he claims it is), why does it matter to him if he can't go to Michigan or MSU? That raises red flags and Dooley knows that. He's smarter than you, and most of us.

2. Dooley is setting a standard. Arnett signed a binding contract with UT and now he wants out of it one year in. That tells everyone "hey, if you don't like it here, no worries, we'll let you out of here for free". Wrong message to send.

3. Arnett is getting what he wants, he's getting his release. Why make a stink out of it and send ESPN an email complaining? That screams of a spoiled kid who isn't getting his way and wants to make a public outcry about it. Take your release, go be with your sick dad and be happy about it.

Also, UT goes up against Michigan and MSU on the recruiting trail every single year, as was stated in the statement from UT. It's not just about on-field competition, yet you conveniently left that out. Big surprise there.

As for the Brandon Warren situtation, he is from Knoxville, and UT is the only FBS school in the Knoxville area. He had one choice to play FBS level football near his sick parent. Not the case with Arnett. I guess you just happened to forget that too.

RockyMtnVol
RockyMtnVol

How do we know that Mr. SEC actually has an "Honest Opinion", I mean how do you measure that statement, is repeating what someone else says, an Honest Opinion? or just good investigative journalism the only way to have an "Informed Opinion?". Mr. SEC, not sure how your claim to being Mr. SEC came about, but this reader finds your comments very weak and far from being "honest", if anything....wait....are you related to John Adams of KNS? This is really looking like his dripple.

GBO! and DeAnthony......get back to being a man vs. a little boy. Do you know how many Airman, Seaman, Army etc. that go off to war and fight for your feedoms? I don't see the services letting these young men and women out of their commitments when things go bad at home, I know of men and women who missed births, weddings, funnerals, birthdays etc...becuase they have more spine than you. As far as I am concerned, go play at MSU or UM......CDD wants men not boys!!

RyanE
RyanE

I don't see a problem with UT telling the kid they will release him to any schools other than Michigan or M. State. Word is that State started illegally contacting the kid the day that Baggett stepped down as WR coach. The closest school to his family (less than 50 miles) is Central Michigan and if he is serious about helping out with his dad he should just sign there and be a big fish in a smaller pond. He can end up a high pick in the NFL draft just as well there as he could at State or UM all while being only a 45 minute drive away from his family.

RockyMtnVol
RockyMtnVol

The only PR Bungle here is poster like you making it look like these guys don't have to honor their commitments. UT expensed a lot of $ for DA, and his father was just as sick before he signed as he is now. This is another story of a spoiled athlete trying to get over a University like UT and he has posters like you taking it hook line and sinker. Just bing unhappy with change in coaching is not good enough, life is full of change, DA should man-up and stick to his commitment and call his family more often, rather than using his Dad's "long term illness" as a hook to try and make CDD and UT look bad. You on the other hand should try a little harder to get the facts and see who is jerking who's chain........be different and I think you'll find another Bryce Brown story.........spoiled child doesn't get his way and stomps his feet and holds his breath and everyone automatic come running to his side.........get real! I haven't seen enought to label CDD ad hard nose about ligitimate relaeases.

GBO and Go CDD!!

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Well if that's the case then getting closer to his ill father is not "all" there is in this situation, which is what Arnett's plea implies. If he's using family sickness as leverage that's pretty low of him. Emailing ESPN before Tennessee made an official decision on the matter was already pretty low.

TexasVol
TexasVol

Dooley did meet in person with Arnett, he even went to the Arnett household to see his parents while on a recruiting trip in Michigan. Dooley tried to accommodate Arnett, and instead, Arnett got greedy and tried to manipulate the situation.

TexasVol
TexasVol

@volroadwarrior well said.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

RockyMtnVol...

The SITE is MrSEC.com. No one at the site -- including the writer -- claims that title.

Your post shows that you'll support your Vols no matter what... to hell with any kid. There's no legit reason to leave UT. It's akin to joining the military. (Which is likely what opposing coaches will tell kids when they negatively recruit against your tough-as-nails coach.)

I wonder though... were you so supportive of Bobby Bowden when he played hardball with Brandon Warren... who wanted to transfer to Tennessee just a few short years ago. I seem to recall Vol fans screaming that Bowden was a bad guy. Even though Bowden believed UT had tampered with Warren.

Love those double standards.

Thanks for reading,

John

RockyMtnVol
RockyMtnVol

Agree 100%, this kid is jerking CDD and UT's chain to try and get his way.....something doesn't smell good here and its DA's story.

RockyMtnVol
RockyMtnVol

@TexasVol

DA has burnt his bidges with UT and CDD, I think folding now would have a bigger negative impact on CDD as a man and a coach.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Anyone who emails ESPN asking for a smear job is greedy and tries to manipulate situations. I have a soft spot for kids trying to move closer to family due to injuries--that's how the Hogs got RB Broderick Green from Southern Cal--but the more I hear about this situation the less sympathy I have for the kid, especially if Michigan and Michigan State were contacting him.

RockyMtnVol
RockyMtnVol

@John at MrSEC

John,

Wow! talking about double standards, you actually are using the Warren issue and a basis for DA situation? 1. CDD was not the Coach. 2. Warren is from Knoxville 3. FSU was doing a lot of "double standards" during this time 4. No position coach change at FSU. 4. Warren was not some spoiled WR using is Dad's situation vs. the real reason for transferring. So, how does this compare to DA's situation? Come on John......wake up and smell the coffee.

GBO

Spelunker
Spelunker

@RockyMtnVol@TexasVol Maybe. But now every school in the country can point to this and use it to recruit against the Vols. "Don't play for Tennessee, they if you have a tragedy in your family they won't release you to be closer to home. Look at what Dooley has done to Aaron Douglas, Bryce Brown, and now DeAnthony Arnett."

Sometimes folding is the smarter move in the long term.



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