“That kid made his choice, and now he has buyer’s remorse.”

I tell you what – it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything that reeks of as much hypocrisy as this Matt Hayes article about Matthew Thomas, the kid who wants out of his LOI with FSU.

I really do feel for Jimbo Fisher, who’s in a tough spot entirely not of his own making.  On the one hand, does he really want a disgruntled soul like Thomas hanging around his program?  It’s hard to see right now how he makes a positive contribution in Tallahassee this season.

But on the other, Fisher’s peers are closing ranks, and just in the way you might expect.

… Here’s something else Fisher has become: the test case for his coaching fraternity.

“I told him, if he lets (Thomas) go free, precedent is set and everything changes,” said one BCS coach.

… I’ve spoken to three different BCS coaches who have reached out to Fisher and advised him to play it strictly by the book. In other words, if Thomas wants to leave, he can leave—but not without paying the NCAA penalty of sitting out a season of eligibility.

Tough guys.  I wonder if one of the coaches who “reached out” to Fisher was Todd Graham.  Now there’s somebody who’s paid the price for serially jumping ship.

It’s not the attitude that a confused 18-year old should be held to a higher standard for doing the same thing that a grown-ass man who has access to legal representation does that gets me.  It’s that these selfish bastards expect us to share their attitude about it.  But at least they got Hayes to cheerlead for them.


Filed under Recruiting

93 responses to ““That kid made his choice, and now he has buyer’s remorse.”

  1. BeardDawg

    “This rule is all about—and I know this is hard for some of you to believe—the academic welfare of the student.

    Succeeding at college is hard enough for a majority of students. Succeeding while changing schools, adjusting to a new environment and maintaining academic progress—all while being a full-time football player—is next to impossible. A year away from football improves the percentages. ”

    See Senator, it’s about the kids. And Hayes goes on to list all the reasons in the kids favor, and merely brushes them off. Guy seems like kind of a prick to me.

    • AlphaDawg

      I can see some of the logic of this if the kid was on campus attending classes, but he hasn’t stepped on campus yet, hasn’t taken a class yet and wishes to leave.

      • Cojones

        A step further: NCAA ,as part of the Penn St fiasco, voluntarily lifted the LOI from players who may have changed their mind about ole PSU after the scandal.

        Wasn’t Kiffen and USC eager to pitch in and help those guys also?

    • Krautdawg

      Geology 1001 with a sponsored tutor is an uphill grind already — and then doing it with a new tutor on a new campus?!? Outrageous! NCAA, protect these men from such a fate!

    • Stat_gal

      According that Hayes logic ALL freshman college football players should sit out a year of eligibility due to the overwhelming adjustment going off to college can be. New town, new school, new friends, new tutors, new cafeteria food, new girls everywhere… Oh yeah and let’s not forget ‘maintaining academic progress’. What hard year that must be for those boys!

  2. uglydawg

    Force the kid to honor his LOI and keep him around with his attitude…one of three things will happen…the kid will become toxic and you will end up dismissing him anyway.(bad for everyone involved)…Or he will see the light, make some friends at FSU, maybe get a girlfriend, learn to love the life, and have great accomplishments on the field (everybody wins)….or he will settle somewhere in the middle of those two extremes and will never greatly benefit nor damage the program (most likely). A good policy is to let him go to any school not on your schedule.. That seems fair to me.

  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Let’s look at this from the opposite side. You know how bad it has become now–kids committing, then decommitting, then committing to another school, then decommitting again–do you really want that to go on after signing day? How is a coach supposed to manage his roster if he doesn’t know whom or how many he has signed?

    • I get Fisher’s predicament here and can certainly sympathize.

      Just don’t try to insist that coaches occupy some higher moral ground here, because that’s bullshit.

      • Cojones

        Does that include Richt in your mind?

        • In mine, yes. If Richt wanted to up and coach FSU or Miami, or a major school with an opening, he could. Just because he doesn’t use the option available to him, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have those options, and that the kids shouldn’t be allowed similar freedom of movement and choice.

          Hell, in the kids’ case of “buyer’s remorse”, see Glen Mason backing out on Georgia after accepting, Bobby Cremins backing out on South Carolina, Gregg Marshall backing out on College of Charleston, among several other examples of a coach taking a job and then changing their mind a short time after accepting.

        • Cojones

          Richt has a record of working with the student athletes to make sure their life isn’t trashed either by the athlete or the school (re: Grant to Ark after student council wouldn’t admit him, etc) concerning their wanting or required to leave. The question concerned coaches occupying a higher moral ground. I consider that Richt has and will continue to do so.

          • Ah, gotcha. I just don’t equate not being an asshole when you could be one, as the same as having some sort of “moral high ground”.

            • Cojones

              “gotcha” back. Thought Bluto was referring to all coaches in his cynicism-validating inclusiveness. Plus, I’m still trying to pull effusive comments from him concerning Richt. Not getting them either.

      • Bobby

        The most successful college recruiters are able to identify the family member/friend/close relationship w/ the greatest amount of influence on the recruit. Successful recruiters then attempt to win over that influential person. Generally, this is a recipe (or at least an ingredient) for success on signing day.

        Am I to believe that Jimbo wasn’t actively trying to sell Thomas’s mom on FSU, knowing that if it came down to it, Mom would pressure Thomas to choose FSU? If a program tries to manipulate a kid indirectly through parental influence, I don’t think the program should be surprised if the kid’s heart is not fully in it on signing day.

        My point is that Jimbo is somewhat culpable here, also. By exploiting indirect parental influence/pressure, he gave rise to his predicament.

        • Pure speculation on your part.

          Momma’s priorities may have been purely geographic in nature. FSU was the only school in his final mix that was in state.

          • Bobby

            It’s speculation to the extent that I was not privy to any conversations or sales pitches b/w Fisher and Mom, and they weren’t reported on (at least not widespread) in the media. Based on this lack of knowledge, I’ll concede that we don’t know that Fisher engaged in this sort of recruiting tactic; as a corollary, though, we don’t know that he didn’t engage in this sort of recruiting tactic. In other words, it is also speculation to say that Jimbo is in a “tough spot entirely not of his own making.”

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Realistically, is any kid going to go to a school that the parent(s) hate? If you are a coach you have to recruit the parent(s), too.

          • Bobby

            Yes. There is nothing wrong w/ recruiting the parents; it is a piss poor recruiter that doesn’t try to win over the parents. However, where it appears that a kid was hot-boxed into choosing a school, or that a parent exerccised undue influence, recognize that your recruiting strategy gave rise to the situation. Use your discretion to release a kid in that situation.

            • Dog in Fla

              Thomas told Tom Loy of 247Sports:”I have the best relationship with coach Fisher at Florida State. The rest of my family feels great about him too. Coach Jimbo is a good guy and I can really trust him. I am looking forward to playing for him.”


              However, expert intelligence analysts feel the “Coach Jimbo is a good guy” statement was made under duress noting that the ball cap askance to the right in the direction of an upstanding Mother is a sign an international distress. Results still pending on Morse Code interpretation of Matthew’s blinks during press conference.

              • Cojones

                The fact that he dumped Miami on Signing Day with an excuse that they(Miami) weren’t holding up their end of the scholarship leaves one to speculate that he doen’t know where he exactly wants to go and has been influenced again to change his mind at FSU (Kiffin?). Either way, this kid is vacillating such that he demonstrates he has no mind or info on his own to decide. He will be received with suspicion no matter where he goes.

                You can’t trust his verbal promise and you can’t trust his LOI that he signed. What can you trust?

                • Dog in Fla

                  The Wetumpka Tea Party. A targeted member of the Dunciad of Confederates which issued a press release welcoming Matthew as “another fine outstanding young man who fought the tyranny of the federal government.”

                  • Cojones

                    Ah. Know them well, however, their football covered rattler means they support FAMU. Think they know he is at the other school in that town? They also use the FAMU cheer, “Strike!, Rattlers, Strike!; Put the venom in’em”. IRS = Insider Republican Suckups.

              • Bobby

                That last paragraph is pure gold.

    • DawgPhan

      I would be upset if CMR or UGA did something like this, but thankfully there are countless examples of CMR doing the 100% right thing by helping a kid get to someplace where he can be happy.

      Let the kid out of his LOI. He sits a year and what’s done is done. Everyone comes out clean.

      • Silver Creek Dawg

        Only one problem- if you release him from his LOI, he’s eligible to play immediately.

        • DawgPhan

          I don’t believe that is the case.

          My understand is that if they release him he still has to sit a year and lose a year of eligibility.

          What that means exactly, I dont know. I think that if we were to transfer to UGA and FSU released him he would sit for 2013 and then have 4 years to play 3 seasons.

          I am pretty sure he can’t play in 2013 for anyone other than FSU.

          “What happens if I change my mind and I do not want to attend the institution with which I sign and want to attend another National Letter of Intent institution?
          If you do not attend the institution with which you signed or if you do not satisfy the terms of the National Letter of Intent Program, the basic penalty is you lose two years of eligibility at the next National Letter of Intent institution and you must sit two years in residence at that school.

          Can the Basic Penalty which calls for a loss of two years of eligibility and requires that I sit two years in residence at the next National Letter of Intent Institution be reduced?
          Yes. The Basic Penalty under the National Letter of Intent agreement can be reduced by entering into a Release Request Form with the signing institution. By entering into a Release Request Form, the institution and the student-athlete mutually agree to release each other from any commitment and liability to each other as a result of signing a National Letter of Intent. Pursuant to the Release Request Form, you may not represent a second National Letter of Intent institution in any sport during the first year of residence there and you will be charged with a loss of one season of competition in all sports. ”


    • Monday Night Frotteur

      How is a coach supposed to manage his roster if he doesn’t know whom or how many he has signed?

      These coaches get paid many millions of dollars each year to figure this out. They can deal with a little uncertainty. I don’t give a monkey’s penis if their jobs get harder because wildly-underpaid kids get a little leverage against them. In fact, I’d like to see totally free transfer for any player with a 2.5 or higher GPA.

      • Connor

        I agree with this, though I’d remove the GPA requirement. Too likely to be abused by a vindictive school. If a a kid wants to transfer to another school, and that school will take them and has a scholarship, they should be able to do that whenever they want.
        The entire process, from schools offering “scholarships” to high school kids on through the way scholarships are counted and managed through college probably needs to be completely scrapped. It’s just a mess right now.

        • Cojones

          Yeah, but how would UGA fans feel with athletes looking over their shoulders after the signing period and saying, “Gee, the grass just got greener over there. They have needs for new starters that wasn’t there during the process and I can play right away.” ? Any change of mind applies to all sports, not just football. Is that what any fans want? Never knowing whether the new fits will stay together would increase my glaucoma stress to diabetes territory. How would it affect each of you?

          • Connor

            I could live with it. We don’t mind when guys buried on the depth chart who make it to their senior year bail to try to play one year somewhere. If a superstar got fed up and wanted to go play for UF, that’s his prerogative. Outside of football, kids transfer schools all the time. You don’t have to sit out of a year of classes if you feel that Washington and Lee is a little to small and you want to transfer to the University of Tennessee.
            As long as the powers that be keep insisting these are students who just happen to be participating in a little extra-curricular activity a couple weekends a year then they should treat them as such. If it’s a billion dollar business then step up and pay the participants. You can’t have it both ways.

          • Monday Night Frotteur

            Never knowing whether the new fits will stay together would increase my glaucoma stress to diabetes territory. How would it affect each of you?

            I think it would be more exciting.

            One tweak would be to allow schools that offered 4-year non-revocable GIA scholarships to enforce transfer restrictions, while not allowing year-to-year schools any restrictions. That would be a nice way of coaxing schools to do something they should have been doing for the past 40 years.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        But the rules are set up a certain way, so coaches (and other athletes who may have had some regrets) have learned to operate in this system.

        You may not give a monkey’s penis if their jobs get harder, but I personally don’t want CMR and the rest of our staff dealing with a revolving door of athletes, PLUS having our current players constantly being head-hunted by other schools…the recruiting dance would be never-ending. And it’s not just the coaches’ lives that become more complicated and confusing, it’s everybody who plays, works in, and watches CFB. It’s a little cavalier to simply shrug off a decision to make somebody ELSE’s work harder….

        I don’t know how deep FSU is at LB, but you’ve got to figure when they signed Thomas they eased up on their efforts to sign more kids at that position.

        What’s the big deal with making him sit a year? People respond to incentives, even seventeen year old kids. And it cuts both ways – if we think it’s important for schools to honor their commitments to these kids and not push them out the door when they don’t pan out, isn’t it fair to ask the kids to honor their commitments, too?

        However, isn’t it interesting that it took a five-star kid to ignite everybody’s opinions on this. GTP notwithstanding, we don’t hear much about the “academic uncertainty” facing Saban’s kids who get pushed out the door, do we?

        • Monday Night Frotteur

          Better for the kids, slightly harder on coaches* and fans? I’ll take that trade 6 days a week and twice on Sunday.

          *It’s a zero sum game for both, of course. UGA backups might be targeted by G-State, etc., but G-State stars might be targeted by UGA’s coaches. It would work itself out.like free agency in baseball.

        • Cojones

          Cos- Re: 3rd para, “….eased up on their efforts to sign more kids…”. He had changed his mind about Miami on Signing Day. They were the ones who had eased up for as long as he had given a verbal. FSU got an extra “gimme” that day and it shouldn’t have affected them for any time. He also said that he was going to wait longer to sign and Mom convinced him he had to sign that day. FSU was still close to home so he obeyed his Mom on Signing Day.

  4. paul

    I’m with the Senator on this one. The kid hasn’t made it to school yet. These very same coaches who insist he toe the line will tear up their signed, multi-year contract the nanosecond a better opportunity comes along. No one seems to be bothered by that. But when a seventeen year old kid changes his mind before he ever enrolls, now that’s different. Right? Um, not so much.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      The schools and coaches all have the right to amend a contract to include penalties for early termination…they can also refuse to sign it, or take action in court if someone breaches their agreement. Frankly, the kids have the right to refuse to sign a LOI or anything else, too.

      The kids are at a disadvantage, of course, but the schools and coaches have nobody to blame but themselves if they don’t have the contract – and the safeguards – they wanted.

  5. Jackie

    I doubt Todd Graham, head coach at ASU, was one of the coaches who reached out to him.

  6. Dog in Fla

    Matt Hayes will never have to buy a coach a drink again*

    *(Offer applies during Happy Hour, 2-for-1’s and Ladies Drink Free nights only)

  7. wnc dawg

    Think Glen Mason (or Billy Donovan, Bobbie Cremins, etc) would want the kid to “honor” his word and stick to his commitment?

  8. mdcgtp

    The intellectual dishonesty of coaches “weighing in” telling Jimbo to adhere to the letter of the law is silly to me. They almost certainly don’t have all the facts. Thus, they have clearly placed precedent over circumstance.

    On the other hand, I can’t help but agree that this is a REALLY REALLY (did I mention REALLY) tricky situation for all the reasons that folks have mentioned. Quite frankly, I am not exactly sure what I think the best outcome is. There certainly is the risk of setting a precedent where every kid who wants to change his mind can now do so. If Thomas made a clear and compelling case that he did make his decision in haste due to undue pressure from his mother and really wanted to do otherwise, I tend to think the circumstances are not simply a change of heart. Rather, it was acting under duress. I have NO IDEA how one could distinguish between the truth and a convenient lie in that situation. That is why it is so

    The bottom line for me is that it reinforces the point that recruiting continues to grow in its complexity and time commitment for coaches, and I believe over the long haul that that is bad for the game. Certainly, an early signing period would eliminate the decommitment phenomenon, but its not going to legislate intelligent decision making. It won’t shield prospects from being influenced by family and friends or other programs with ulterior motives. Otherwise, this is a situation with few, if any, clear answers.

  9. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Some kids get addicted to being chased and wanted. While I completely agree about the double standard at work in the reasoning in the article, someone has to shut this down at some point fpr his own good. But it should be the parents, not a policy.

  10. Ptc dawg

    Rules are rules. I wish my Son was offered a full ride somewhere, anywhere. Rest assured he would be there and like it.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      +1. It’s not like he signed up for the army, he’s getting to go play football at FSU. There’s a beach and plenty of pretty girls there – if it’s truly a horrible place, taking a year off is a tiny, tiny penalty. Plenty of regular students have to take time off to WORK.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        The minimum age for enlistment in the United States Military is 17 (with parental consent). There are no do overs allowed after signing. My bride had a college picked out for my youngest son. It wasn’t Georgia. He is at Georgia. His decision. I guess in some way every kid that signs a LOI will know that it not a signature on a piece of notebook paper. It carries some responsibility regardless of how a coach might view it.

        • AlphaDawg

          The military isn’t a good comparison. 3% to 5% of the kids who step off the bus on those yellow foot prints at Parris Island don’t make it out of forming, another 3% to 5% of those that do make it to a platoon do not graduate bootcamp. 20 years ago I started bootcamp with 46 other recruits 3 didn’t graduate with me and to my knowledge never finished booth camp. They are given a general discharge and sent home, hell I think after a short time its not even on thier record anymore, it simply goes away like they never enlisted, its not worth the Corps time or money to try and make them adjust. Just like its not worth it for FSU to drag this out, try to talk him into staying or release the kid and move on. I’d want UGA to the same thing.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            I didn’t know that. I guess the Corp running them off is like Saban moving them off the team huh? But they don’t get to leave if they don’t feel like being in the Corp do they? When there was a draft in the 60’s no one was washing out were there?

            • AlphaDawg

              I think alot of the changes to how recruits are viewed came after moving to an all volunteer force. Plus there is that unspoken 10% rule. 20% are your preformers, they are the ones you promote and groom to be leaders, 70% are the worker bees, who assimilate and contribute they’re just not leaders and are replaced every 4 to 8 years, and then there is the bottom 10% who simply don’t belong(personality, intelligence, failure to adapt, etc.). (BTW ‘failure to adapt’ is actaully the reason listed for seperation for a bunch of these kids) Its easier and cheaper to weed those out in bootcamp than to do it later down the road after more training and money has been spent on them. I’ve actually read somewhere that corporations use the 20/70/10 model when evaluating workforces, i’m sure there is some corp name or book written somewhere to explain the logic.

              AS for as just ‘wanting to leave’, in a sense yes. Once you arrive on the island you are sent to a forming platoon, this could last anywhere from 3 to 7 days before you are assigned to an actual platoon. You are asked numorous times during this phase whether or not you want to be there, the DI’s here are actaully evaluating the recruits to find the problem kids. If you want to leave all you have to do is tell them you smoked weed and wish to go home. After requesting to go home they may put them into the ‘Shitbag’ platoon’ the DI’s will try and talk you out of leaveing, but ultimately if you wanna go you will be released.

              • AlphaDawg

                Once you have completed bootcamp and have been assigned to your MOS school or to your unit, you cannot simply say you want out of the Corp, its just in the early stages of Bootcamp.

      • By Georgia We Did It

        @Cosmicdawg – hope you didn’t study geography at UGA, Tallahassee is not on the water.

        • Cojones

          Yep, those kids have to drive all of about an hour to put their toes in salt water. Another 30 mins should get them to St George Island in one direction and PCB in a more westerly direction. Poor kids, they don’t have a beach right by their dorm..

  11. Gravidy

    If you can put aside the intentionally provocative language and the notion that coaches are operating on some sort of a moral high ground, I have no problem with the spirit of the column. Nor do I have a problem with the spirit of the rule. When you boil it all down, the kid made a choice. It was the wrong one, but he has options. If he wants to go elsewhere, he is free to do so next year. I assure you he will have no shortage of scholarship offers.

    In short, I’m with the Mayor on this one. The recruiting process is enough of a circus already. Releasing this kid would set a very bad precedent.

  12. Macallanlover

    There is no moral high ground with this issue, on either side. Everyone defending the student athletes are feeling smug because they think they are protecting children. Come on, they are 18/19 years of age when they sign the commitment letter and usually have 2-3 years to make the decision. Time to begin your college education, you are an adult, not a teeneager any longer. When you make a commitment in life you will be judged by how you stand by that. And don’t be surprised if there are penalties when you compromise on the commitment you made….that could be your marriage vows, your student loan, your newly born child, or the school you chose to accept a valuable scholarship offer.

    I will not defend the coaches, schools, or NCAA either. Having coaches who leave before their contracts are up should incur a penalty too. A year, or more, for leaving early is fair with me. I could support them being unable to work at another school until the contract expires, or the students they recruited are out of eligibility. I commented a year or so ago about how a “contract” didn’t mean anything any longer in this country and was told I was naive. It may be good for attorneys to have everything in upheaval so their services are required but I am old school enough to think lacking the character to honor your commitments leads to bad consequences. I also know many here don’t let “consequences” and would rather chant about how we should sing together and “just get along”.

    Let’s face it, having “committed” players able to switch teams at will, without consequence, after NSD faxes are in would be chaotic. And allowing coaches to change schools should also be “controlled” so that a comparable cooling off period is mandated before they can work at other colleges. But strict adherence and integrity can go a long way to making things better.

    • DawgPhan

      “without consequences” simply isn’t true. There is a penalty to pay for breaking the contract. People break contracts all the time. It isnt a sign of some entitled groupthink or any other non-sense. It is someone making a decision for what is best for them.

    • Everyone defending the student athletes are feeling smug because they think they are protecting children. Come on, they are 18/19 years of age when they sign the commitment letter and usually have 2-3 years to make the decision.

      Come on yourself, Mac. Many of them haven’t reached legal age, which is why, as in Thomas’ case, Mama gets involved.

      I’d feel less sympathetic if they had proper representation before they signed. But of course that sort of thing is frowned upon by the schools and coaches.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        At 18 years old you can vote, pay taxes, purchase tobacco products, purchase lotto tickets, and serve in the military and carry automatic weapons, but you can’t sign a letter of intent to go play sports at the college of your choosing…….Only in America!!

        • Dog in Fla

          Not only that, they’ve got the freedom to do so without the benefit of

          A mature prefrontal cortex, “the area of sober second thought,” is vital not only to deciding whether to enlist, but also to choices made under the stress of deployment and the terrors of combat. But the prefrontal cortex, “important for controlling impulses, is among the last brain regions to mature,” according to Giedd, and doesn’t reach “adult dimensions until the early 20s.”


          • Cojones

            Does it say anything about the prefrontal cortex never reaching adult dimensions? I have a couple of siblings who would like to know. Does it say anything about other people’s pcs not ever growing up with the people around them?

        • Or have a sip of liquor. You become much more responsible for that in 3 years.

      • Macallanlover

        Senator, then you have information I don’t. Every story I have seen said Thomas signed the LOI, I sw nothing about it being his mother. All I saw was that she influenced/coerced him to FSU before he was sure. Enough with coddling him, it isn’t like he is getting sentenced to a state pen for 3-5 years. I would bet 98% of decisions on which college to attend doesn’t involve representation, and this shouldn’t require it either, imo.

        • Signing a LOI shouldn’t involve representation? Why, exactly?

          • Macallanlover

            I would ask you the same question. As an a attorney I can understand your support for more people using legal services, and there are certainly times when that is prudent, but deciding what school to play a game for in return for a full scholarship just isn’t that complex. I know people who frequently use an attorney for very simple things, and other people who see a therapist often just to help them through what others do routinely. Different strokes I know, I prefer being more independent and taking responsibility on my own. Not saying it should be illegal, but it is just something few feel the need for….and I agree with that.

            • This has nothing to do with what I do for a living.

              It’s the last time in a student athlete’s life he or she has any leverage or control over his or her career (until professional free agency, if the kid is so lucky). That’s a pretty major decision, IMHO. So, yeah, I think a little professional advice would be in order.

              Tell me something, Mac – you think the LOI was drafted without legal input?

              The NCAA uses lawyers, the schools use lawyers, the coaches use lawyers. I guess they all should be more responsible on their own, hunh…

    • 81Dog

      I don’t want to interrupt a rant, but if a coach who has a buyout bails out for another school and pays his buyout, he didn’t break his contract. He simply followed the rules both sides agreed to follow if he wanted to leave. Same thing with a school who fires a guy before the term of his contract expires. As long as they pay him for the remaining years, they didn’t break the contract, either; they followed the terms.

      now, coaches who commit to a school (Cremins, Marshall, etc) and then change their mind and go someplace else? That’s different. But, a coach who pays his buyout and leaves is following the terms of his contract, not breaking it.

  13. Cousin Eddie

    wonder if Tubberille made the call to Jimbo, he might plan on coaching at FSU in a yr. and wants the kid there.

  14. If the kid changed his mind before he reported to campus, then he should pay a one year penalty. He shouldn’t lose two years by having to report to FSU, losing one year, then transfer and lose another. But I don’t think he should get an outright release either.

    Now, had Jimbo left (fired or new job), I think any players on his team that he signed should be offered a release immediately to play anywhere without penalty. That’s where I think the rules need to be altered, and it might give coaches and administrations alike pause when they decide to go job/coach hopping.

    • Connor

      While you might discourage some schools from firings, you’d basically be encouraging people like Graham and Kiffen to jump more often. If they can convince their prospective new employer that they can bring that stud QB or RB with them, they’re even more valuable.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Do you remember who Donnan brought with him when he left Marshal for UGa? They both played in the NFL. I think one got a super bowl ring.

      • Cojones

        Connor, you would also encourage shitheads like Kiffin to tamper with the player.

        • Connor

          That’s my point. A lot of people are in favor of allowing kids to transfer with impunity if the coach leaves, but that by itself is just another version of the current problem. If you concede that there are circumstances in which it should be allowable for football players to transfer to other schools without penalty, then you should simply allow them to transfer without penalty. Period.

  15. Joe Schmoe

    I guess I don’t really understand the whole precedent thing. If the kid has to sit out a year and losses a year of eligibility even if he is released from the LOI, then isn’t that a sufficient deterrent to avoid this being done in mass? I would think these kids would value a year of eligibility pretty highly and that seems to be sufficient penalty for breaking the LOI. The school could also put some stipulations on where he could attend as part of the terms of the release if they so desired. Seems like much ado about nothing to me.

    • Bobby

      Joe, I was thinking the same thing. Furthermore, because the school always has the final say-so, it doesn’t really set a dangerous precedent, if it sets any precedent at all.

      On top of the 1-year deterrent that Joe pointed out, as well as the release stipulations, schools still have the absolute right NOT to grant releases from LOIs in the future. That means that programs can look at each future situation on a case-by-case basis and ferret out the ones in which the school’s release policy is being abused. For now, this is a rare situation. If it starts to become more common-place in the future, programs can simply refuse to grant the release.

    • mdcgtp

      Joe…If he is granted the release to another NLI school, he is eligible immediately. He can choose not to enroll at FSU, but then he is bound by transfer rules, which mandate that he must sit out a season from competition.

      He also does not have to be granted his release by FSU. If an appeals board believes that he should be allowed to “void” his LOI, he is free to sign anywhere without penalty. Of course, that begs the question, what standards need to be satisfied to get the committee to void the LOI?

      I guess the question is how strong a “paper trail” does he have to prove his case. If one could find emails between Mother and Son where he OPENLY expressed his desire to wait, and she “forced” him to make a decision and sign before he was ready, he might argue that his ability to make his own decision was impaired by her…much like JHC’s decision to sign with UGA was held up by his grandfather. I guess if one were looking for precedent, is there any case where a kid could not get a parent/guardian to sign a LOI? what happens? again, it would seem to be contingent on Thomas proving convincingly that he was forced to act against his will. I would be surprised if he has that paper trail, and I am not sure the committee would simply believe the mother and son’s testimony…even if they were consistent!

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        How about this as a precedent–QB has a dad who solicits $180K from a school “without the knowledge of the player” (wink, wink). Since the father was acting on his own the player is not bound by the actions of the father. How is that really any different from the mother forcing the son to sign somewhere against his will if that can be documented? Not done by the free will of the player.

  16. I’d be fine with a release if Junior wasn’t invoked. Basically, anything he is up to should be banned and fought tooth and nail. I have no doubt he is in on this and asshats like him would be culturing post signing day recruits all the time.

    Convince me Junior is not up to no good and ill side with you.

  17. mdcgtp

    I remembered the Sean Higgins case from 25 years ago. I wonder what the burden of proof is for Thomas in terms of “under duress”


  18. Ron

    Would this situation be different if the guy wanted out to attend UF? I say yes. The kid signed a contract and his guardian approved. This country MUST honor contracts or we’re toast.

  19. Dog in Fla

    LOI’s: For the good of the children

  20. Irwin R Fletcher

    This is certainly ripe for an intrepid young blogger or reporter to drop a FOIA request on FSU for Jimbo’s FSU emails and call log after the news broke about Matthew Thomas. It sure would be interesting to see which coaches gave old Jimbo a call shortly thereafter and whether or not there has been email chatter on it.

    • Dog in Fla

      Good idea except for the fact that Jimbo is an acorn spawned under the Little Nickie coaching tree. With those genetics, Jimbo has not only a right, but a duty, not to comply with quaint FOIA requests. Besides in Florida, you take care of that stuff on a device not readily accessible to the so-called public. That’s how our Governor does it.

      • Cojones

        Yeah, but that applies to voting rights, something his freedom lovin’ Tea Party stands behind him on.

        How’s the recall going?

        • Dog in Fla

          No recall. In fact, as bad as Rick is, his opportunity is nowhere to be as bad as the Florida legislature. He’ll probably be able to buy himself another term because he looks reasonable compared to them. And, of course, there’s no opposition party, which makes it easier to be reinstalled.

          • Cojones

            I’ve received info that a recall might be effective with new blood in the Fl Dem Party and that a drive is well underway. Could you look out your window and tell me when things begin to happen? I’ll have to make trip plans again. Or is someone trying to get mo’ money from me?

  21. I wish everyone would please stop pretending that this relationship between student-athlete and school is simply a black and white one of honoring contracts. Have any of you ever once signed a significant contract where you weren’t afforded the right to counsel beforehand if you so desired? The fundamental difference here is that kids signing these LOI’s don’t have that right at all. I’m sorry, but it’s just lazy thinking to come to the conclusion that America’s going to hell if schools start letting kids exit their LOI’s before they ever enroll in school.

    • Dog in Fla

      We will all be standing in the school house doors of Division III facilities

    • By Georgia We Did It

      @ auditdawg – he didn’t have to sign the LOI and yes, he can have an attorney tell him that or he can do 5 mins worth of research on the internet. I’ve never been recruited nor played a sport in college, but I know the LOI is a one-sided contract. I also have the ability (and so does my 6 yr old BTW) of looking up info on the internet and educating myself about the process.

      Any 5 star kid that signs an LOI is a dumbass in my opinion because any school will take him regardless. A 2 or 3 star might want to sign the LOI.

  22. MGW

    As long as he leaves FSU and comes to UGA I don’t really care if he loses a year. It’d be nice for him to have that year, but whatever; just get his butt up to Athens.