In December of 2011, after less than a full year on the job at Pittsburgh, Todd Graham abruptly and unceremoniously left the Panthers for his “dream job” at Arizona State. A year and a handful of months later, Graham and his Sun Devils were in line to benefit from his time at Pitt… until his former employer stepped in.
Citing an unnamed source, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad is reporting that Pittsburgh has denied Rushel Shell‘s request that Arizona State be one of the schools to which he can transfer. It was announced earlier in the week that Shell would be transferring from the Panthers football program, with the early speculation heavily centered on a landing with the Sun Devils.
While Shell did not play for Graham, he was recruited by the coach and his staff during their very brief tenure at Pitt.
Arizona finds itself in a similar position as its in-state rivals as Schad reports that a transfer to the Wildcats has been barred as well due to the presence of former Pitt assistants on Rich Rodriguez‘s staff. Shell will also not be permitted to transfer to the ACC, the conference to which the Panthers will be officially moving July 1 of this year.
Two of the schools on Shell’s transfer to-do list, Cal and UCLA, will presumably get the thumbs-up from the back’s former school.
Shell does have one option remaining if he truly wants to transfer to either Arizona school. “Shell can request a university hearing, outside the athletics department, in an attempt to have Pitt’s ruling overturned,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote in confirming Schad’s report.
It’s understandable that Pitt would still harbor hard feelings over the manner in which Graham left the program, but the lingering animosity doesn’t make taking that frustration out on a kid any less wrong. The NCAA is in the midst of a maelstrom of issues that weakens its credibility by the day; the petulance with which some coaches and programs deal with transfers is one of those that gets little or no play but should.