Sigh. Derek Dooley is doing his damnedest to force me to come up with a new Lexicon entry. If you’re a kid with a family hardship who wants to leave Knoxville to be closer to home, you’re going to have to accept a few limitations.
Meet the Dooley Doctrine, as set forth by UT flack Jimmy Stanton:
“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,” Stanton said Thursday. [Emphasis added.]
Well, Tennessee recruits nationally… does that come off as bad as it sounds for the player? Not according to Stanton.
“Where he’s from, there are several good D-I schools nearby that would be good options to play football, get a good education and keep him near his family.”
Funny how it turns out all those good D-I schools happen to be in the MAC.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as an expansion of the 8-hour drive rule SOD had previously set in the case of Aaron Douglas, or if it’s merely a refinement. Maybe it reflects the uniqueness of each situation in Dooley’s mind: in Douglas’ case, it was about getting him away from home, while Arnett seeks to get closer to home.
Or maybe SOD is just a prick on general principles because he can be.
And make no mistake about it, he can really jam Arnett up here even if the NCAA grants the kid hardship status.
… If Arnett qualifies for an NCAA hardship waiver, he would be able to play immediately at wherever he landed. Hang-ups with his National Letter of Intent, though, could put that in jeopardy.
Because Arnett signed a National Letter of Intent in February, he is subject to eligibility ramifications if he does not complete a full year at UT. It could, perhaps, be in his best interest to go through spring semester and spring football at UT before signing elsewhere.
“The basic penalty may preclude you from representing the second college until you have completed two academic years in residence at the latter institution and you may lose two seasons of competition in all sports,” according to a National Letter of Intent cheat sheet from the NCAA’s official website.
The situation has gotten pathetic enough for Arnett to post a picture of his ailing dad with tubes running out of his chest in an attempt to gain public sympathy. He’s also released a letter to the media. I doubt any of it will make a difference. Derek Dooley has a principle to maintain, which seems to be making players who no longer wish to be in his program grovel on their way out the door.
One thing you have to admire about the UT program – they never have required their coaches to win any PR battles up there.