UPDATED 9:54 a.m. ET: Maryland confirmed via a press release that offensive lineman Max Garcia, quarterback Danny O’Brien and linebacker Mario Rowson have all been granted a full release from the football program with no transfer restrictions.
“While at first I thought it was important to limit the institutions to which they could transfer, I have since reconsidered my decision” head coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “At the end of the day, I want what’s best for these guys and I wish them well in their futures.
“As a program we are looking forward to putting this distraction behind us and to moving forward. Spring practice opens on March 10 and we can’t wait to get back out on the field.”
Apparently, the backlash was extremely effective. Or the football program stepped into a puddle of class and caught a swift case of common decency, one of the two.
Heavily criticized for limiting the transfer options of quarterback Danny O’Brien and two other players, Maryland is backing off that stance, with the Baltimore Sun reporting that all three players will now be permitted to transfer to Vanderbilt if they so desire. The Sun wrote that “Terps coach Randy Edsall is meeting with the players this morning and informing them of the decision.”
O’Brien, along with offensive lineman Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson, were granted releases from their scholarships earlier this month, although the releases came with stipulations: no transfers to ACC schools; any upcoming non-conference opponents, including West Virginia and Temple; and Vandy, coached by former Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin. The first two stipulations are standard, while the third was viewed, and rightly so, as vindictive, petty and classless.
Part of the pettiness on the Terps’ part was the school reportedly believed Vandy had “tampered” with the players, particularly O’Brien. Franklin has denied the accusations and insinuations. That said, the Sun reports that the school will continue to pursue the tampering issue through the ACC and SEC.
According to the Washington Post, a formal complaint has already been filed with the ACC, which in turn forwarded the matter to the SEC for further investigation.
Despite the Terps’ sudden benevolence, there’s no guarantee O’Brien will end up with the Commodores, however. In addition to Vandy, schools such as Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, USF, Stanford, Ole Miss, East Carolina and Arizona have been mentioned as potential destinations.
Garcia has been offered scholarships from Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Ole Miss since his release, while both Alabama and South Carolina are reportedly considering doing the same.
Maryland’s decision to rescind the Vandy stipulation, though, could change the direction of both situations.