For the Purdue basketball fans that thought the actual season was a mess, the Boilermakers' spring hasn't proven to be much easier to navigate for the Purdue coaching staff.
Since the season ended with a loss to Santa Clara in the CBI last month, 30 percent of the returning scholarship players (Jacob Lawson, Sandi Marcius and Anthony Johnson) have decided to leave the program. But it hasn't been a simple case of moving forward for Boiler coach Matt Painter or the departing players.
In the case of fifth-year center Marcius, there is some debate as to how he'll finish his academic career in West Lafayette prior to transferring for his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
And for redshirt junior guard Johnson, there are issues that could impact just how long his collegiate career ultimately ends up being.
“I think each case is different,” Painter said. “Each situation ends up being different. Looking into the merits of each one of them, I think is difficult for the (NCAA) to navigate through.”
With Marcius, his hopes were to finish the summer academically – with Purdue paying the approximately $7,000 cost – and then finishing his career next season after graduating from Purdue in August. Painter said that isn't going to happen.
“He voluntarily withdrew from the team,” Painter said. “Now he wants us to pay for his school after the fact, and that is something that we haven't done. We were committed to paying for his school this summer, if he was with us. Now that he's decided to leave our program, he's not with us. And he voluntarily did that. No one told him that he had to leave.”
Johnson met with Painter recently and said that he would like to transfer elsewhere. Initially, Johnson made no indication as to why he wanted to leave the program, but four days later said that his desire was to play closer to his Chicago home to be near an ill grandmother. However, the dilemma lies in the fact that he has already redshirted a season, so if he were to transfer, he'd lose another year of eligibility, that is, unless the NCAA grants a waiver.
“I think that it is hard for the NCAA in their position,” Painter said of deciding when to grant a waiver.
Painter said that there is a lot of information shared between the student-athlete, the university, and the NCAA, which never gets made public. So the media, fans and other programs end up passing judgment in error.
“What we try to do is look at everything and say 'They did this for him, why wouldn't you do that for the other guy,'” Painter said. “Well, there is particular information that is different. That's what makes it different. A lot of people will look at a situation and say 'Well this doesn't look right.' Well, you don't know all of the information.”
Regardless of the confusion surrounding which players are granted waivers or not, Painter is not an advocate of the NCAA returning to the days of a hard-and-fast rule of every transfer sits out a season regardless of their situation.
“I don't think that it's a mess,” Painter said. “I think that it's frustrating to some coaches that feel like their case is really similar to somebody who got a waiver and they didn't. I think continuing to look at (transfers) on a case-by-case basis is the way to do it.”