Graduate transfer’s poster boy

I posted the other day about the Miami quarterback whose desire to transfer to another program as a graduate was being blocked to a significant extent by the school, i.e., Mark Richt and the athletic director.

It turns out the blockage is more cringeworthy than you might expect.  In fact, I’m not sure you could draw up a worse example of unfairness if you set out to try.  Consider the specifics:

If it’s really about education in that often-repeated NCAA manifesto that props up major-college athletics, Evan Shirreffs is having a hard time believing it.

Miami’s backup quarterback has fulfilled his obligation — the obligation the NCAA tells us — by getting his Business Finance degree in three years. Not only that, Shirreffs killed it in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA. Not surprising given that he had a 32 ACT score out of Jefferson High in Georgia, where Shirreffs was class valedictorian.

But as a graduate transfer, Shirreffs is leaving Miami with more than a degree. He is carrying a significant burden because he cannot go to the grad school of his choice. To make himself the best person he can be for next 50 or so years of his life, Shirreffs really wants to enroll in an elite MBA program.

But Miami has the leverage in his transfer, even after Shirreffs has fulfilled theobligation.

Miami has granted Shirreffs permission to contact other schools. But it has not granted an exemption to the one-year residency requirement (sitting out) at any ACC school or five nonconference opponents on the 2018 and 2019 schedules.

That list includes DukeVirginiaNorth CarolinaWake Forest and Boston College, all in the ACC, all with some of the finest MBA programs in the country.

In short, this kid really is transferring for the academics.  Toss in that Miami has an established starting quarterback who returns for 2018, add this for a topper…

… Shirreffs is now playing for a coaching staff that didn’t recruit him. Mark Richt replaced Al Golden in 2016, Shirreff’s redshirt freshman year.

… and here’s what you’re left with as a rationale for being a dick to a kid who’s done everything he’s been asked to do as a student-athlete.

AD Blake James told CBS Sports of his desire for “consistency” in denying Shirreffs. He has never released a student in a similar situation, why should he now? Student-athlete beware: The transfer policy is right there in the student-athlete handbook.

“You have 114 other guys on that team who have put in the work and made a commitment,” James said, “and you have someone that’s going to leave with the entire playbook and go to a team you’re going to play. To me, I struggle with that as well.”

Man, I hate that for you.

What an effing travesty.  These people ought to be ashamed of themselves, but it seems pretty clear that they don’t really have a sense of shame.


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

45 responses to “Graduate transfer’s poster boy

  1. Mark, do the right thing and allow this kid to transfer where he wants for an MBA. You’re a bigger and better man than this. I don’t care what the policy is or what the precedent has been.


  2. Have not really followed this story but obviously very odd. Would like to hear a direct quote on this from coach Richt.


  3. Debby Balcer

    This really sounds like it is the AD who is stopping the transfer. Maybe Mark needs to talk to Kirby and see how he fought Bama for Mo. Shame on Miami.


  4. Cojones

    The best MBA programs are only in the ACC? Have they nixed him going ooc to a good MBA program ? I understand the loss to the student and am inquiring whether there has been an attempt to solve it that hasn’t been publicized.

    I hold my powder on comments/shaming when info is dribbled out as it has here. Seems to me there is more occurring than trying to maintain “consistency” in UM’s policy. If there have been no efforts to ameliorate this situation to the liking of both parties and it’s a battle of who blinks first, then shame on them both. The recruiting leverage is strong here and it appears that a battle of stubbornness is occurring whereas the student wants the policy hurled before the public and it appears he’s done just that.

    Page 24 has unambiguous language (to me) that should have been known after spending 3 yrs there. It runs the risk to the school to turn recruits off, but few are in the circumstances of this QB so there’s that. What does the UGA Handbook state and is it shared with recruits before they sign the LOI?


    • Cojones

      Yeah, I’d make a one-time transfer of this student because of the unique gpa and completion of degree requirements in 3 yrs. Then I’d get busy changing the draconian words on p.24 that can mean so much to just one person.


    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Who gives a shit whether a good MBA program exists somewhere else? Miami shouldn’t care whether the kid wants to get his degree from Duke or from UTEP. They can’t blow up the NCAA fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Junkyardawg41

    Two interesting points from the article. Towards the end Sheriffs says “I should be able to play wherever I choose to better myself athletically and academically.” He seems to put athletically higher than academically. Dodd makes the same observation in summation.If it really is about the academics (and playing football), Northwestern, Cal, Stanford, and Michigan are all more highly rated than any ACC school. If it was all about the academics, I would think Harvard and Penn would be high on the list —- who also field teams albeit at a non FBS level.

    Now if the point of the article and commentary is that the system is unfair to athletes who graduate and are blocked from transferring, I can buy that. I think the argument would be stronger if Miami was pulling his scholarship and blocking his transfer choices.

    What will be interesting is to see if the tune changes slightly after NSD. Scholarship numbers may on the surface limit his transfer list.


    • Sanford222view

      Not that the schools above aren’t great schools but another factor is where he wants to live after getting his MBA. If he plans to live in the south then he may want to have a degree from a program in the southeast to maximize the benefits of the networking that occurs in grad school. The “who you know” factor plays a big part in the business world so building relationships at a school out west or in the midwest may not be as valuable.

      I don’t know the answer to this but, does he still have to get into the school in question? Or does the football scholly just get him in? I ask only because while he is obviously a sharp kid he may not have the GMAT and grades needed to get in the Top 10 schools.

      2018 US News rankings of schools mentioned:
      Stanford/Northwestern – 4th (tie)
      Cal – 7th
      Michigan – 11th
      Duke – 12th
      UVA – 14th
      UNC – 18th


    • Ivy League does not allow you to play as a graduate student.


  6. Jack Burton

    But…but…but Richt and Jesus! He’s a holy man!

    But yeah, this stink will obviously force their hand and the kid will get to transfer to wherever he would like. Hopefully he ends up winning the starting QB job and shoves it up Richt’s ass on the field.


    • NoAxeToGrind

      You are taking a chance there, friend. You cannot insinuate on this blog that Richt is anything other than a standup guy. The fan clubbers will come after you.


      • DoubleDawg1318

        You don’t have to be a “fan clubber” to say Richt is a stand up guy. Everybody makes mistakes. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a respectable fellow. Y’all need to get over your bitterness toward Richt. He’s moved on. Time for y’all to move on as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charles

        There will always be an array of opinions in re: Richt’s firing. Your shitty reading comprehension, on the other hand, is beyond dispute:

        “AD Blake James told CBS Sports of his desire for “consistency” in denying Shirreffs. He has never released a student in a similar situation, why should he now?”

        As for the “fan clubbers,” or whatever you call ’em, it’s not their fault that you people have such a massive hate boner for Richt that it deprives your brain of oxygen.


  7. Edawg

    Nothing wrong here whatsoever. Richt should have took this stand with JJ Greene. Better buy a coat son it gets cold above the mason dixon line.
    There shouldn’t be anyone on here feel sorry for a kid that was recruited into high school. He has been playing the transfer game for a while now. It just bit his entitled ass this time.


  8. Biggen

    Does it really matter WHERE a business degree comes from? I mean, does a future employer give a crap whether it came from Miami or Duke?

    Seems like a strawman argument.


    • In the legal profession, all other things being equal, the name of the school on the diploma makes a difference. Can’t imagine it’s that different in other fields.

      Begs the real question, though: if the kid himself thinks that’s the case, what’s the justification for treating him differently than other students… or coaches and athletic directors, for that matter?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Spike

        I understand what you are saying, and the name on the diploma may help quite a bit in the beginning. But my experience has been in the legal profession that hard work, honesty and a desire to learn can make a lawyer, or anyone else for that matter, successful, notwithstanding their respective alma mater. Your mileage may vary, however.


    • Sanford222view

      If you have an MBA from a Top 20 school it does matter. It can open a lot of doors and the top companies recruit on campus at the top schools. It is a huge advantage when you have access to interviews at your school before you even graduate versus just being another resume in the stack trying to just get the opportunity to sell yourself.


    • Yes, it does make a difference what the name of the school is on the degree. A big difference to the big time employers.


    • Charlottedawg

      For mba programs where you got your degree is THE most important factor. I’d go as far as to say any mba outside of the top 15 full time programs is a waste of time and money. Goldman and McKinsey recruit on campus for jobs that pay 200k out of the gate at Harvard, Wharton, Uva, and duke. An mba from say Georgia or Georgia tech will not have access to said jobs.


  9. MDDawg

    It’s the school/AD’s policy, not Richt’s. And Richt isn’t the type to criticize his AD publicly, so he’s going along with it. Similar situation happened last year with a RB they had, though he wasn’t a grad transfer.


  10. Derek

    If Saban can be backed down on this look for Miami to be as well.

    FWIW: this looks to be a James Blake issue not a CMR issue. I’m guessing Blake told him as a condition of employment that he’d handle these issues.

    Are there any quotes from CMR indicating that he’s personally changed his mind on the “life is too short” approach to these things?


  11. Jared S.

    Dear Senator,

    I hold two firm beliefs regarding this specific circumstance:

    1) it’s unfair to the kid and obviously a contradiction to the NCAA’s supposed emphasis on the “athlete” part of “student-athlete” to restrict his transfer to the school of his choice,
    2) however, it’s also intellectually dishonest for the kids and his defenders (including you) to poo-poo the fact that he knew what he was getting into – as do all kids who sign with schools these days. You act as if he’s been bilindsided – like he was pursuing his dreams with every advantage in the world and all of a sudden the Miami AD hit him in the head with a two-by-four and crushed his dreams.

    These two beliefs I hold are not mutually exclusive. You may tell me you’re not arguing that they are, but you’ve certainly implied it. I encourage you to keep hammering the NCAA and schools for having unfair policies, but don’t seemingly implore us to feel sorry for this kid as though he has been mislead or lied to. Or, as has been pointed out, treated differently than other players.

    If his primary focus really is academics then why is he worried about playing football at all? Why doesn’t he get academic scholarships or gasp student loans to attend the graduate school of his dream like us normal every-day folk.

    Like I said, keep up the good work pointing out real injustice, but be careful not to cross the line into insinuating things that aren’t true in order to bolster your very good position.

    Very sincerely,
    Jared S.
    Current MBA Candidate


    • I’m not saying he was misled, or misguided.

      I’m saying that UM’s policy is bullshit and the AD ought to be ashamed of himself.


      • Cosmic Dawg

        Oh, it’s bullshit, but I think my question is, is it bullshit in light of the existing transfer rules other colleges exploit and with whom Miami must compete?

        Is it bullshit to restrict his transfer to non-ACC schools? ‘Cause I thimk knowing the playbook and transferring to Clemson is no bueno unless all the other ACC schools allow it, too.

        And there are a whole lot of non-ACC schools – I do not think it’s that egregious, and I am almost always on the student side of this argument.


      • Jared S.

        I get that that’s your major point. And I agree with it. I guess I was confused by the whole “he really is transferring for the academics” angle….as if football weren’t playing into his reasons for wanting a transfer at all.

        If he really is motivated by academics then the whole point is moot. Just forget about football and go where you want? I’m not offended if he calls the process unfair, but I’m offended that anyone would expect me to take his side because the guy is just trying to get the MBA of his dreams.


        • Maybe I could have made my point clearer. So much of the recent criticism about graduate transfers is that most of them, at heart, have nothing to do with academics. This is a case when it clearly does have something to do with that.


          • Macallanlover

            How many of them actually get that post graduate degree after transferring? And how significant it is they get it form that particular school? (let’s face it, they are not after the very top academically….good students or not.)


            • Already answered your second question. Choice of school matters.

              As for your first question — wanna bet this kid gets his MBA?

              Seriously, Mac — on the one hand you object to player compensation because they’re students already being adequately compensated and on the other you object to graduate transfers because you’re sure they’re not really there for an education.


              • Macallanlover

                Choice of school matters in a few situations, to a limited degree. Weak point, and you know it. Has little relevance to the broad point. You are searching here.
                No, I don’t want to bet. Individual situations vary, I asked the question of how many actually followed through of all those who utilize this rule to transfer. I suspect you know this is more ploy than an outcry for educational opportunity.
                Yes, I do think players are generously compensated without adding pay. There are ways they could compensate for the likeness/image issue I could support but doubt it would satisfy you. (monies in escrow for later payout for all players, not individuals, and the schools which supply the platform.)
                And, of course, I am not against grad transfers, and never have been. I just don’t think it should be an unrestricted transfer. Initially I did feel they should be able to go wherever they wanted, but have rethought and realized that is not the the best policy. There are far too many options that do not pit them against the school that trained them.

                This seems more a mountain/mole hill issue where someone just wants to prove they can knock the wall down even if there is an easier way to both play football and get their graduate degree.


                • Mac, I don’t know what line of work you’re in, but I can tell you as someone who’s been a managing partner at two law firms for 30+ years and who has a number of friends who practice law, that everybody looks at the school on the resume when hiring recent law grads. It may not be the only thing, but it’s definitely a reality.

                  You’ve also seen a comment from someone else that the same applies in the MBA world.

                  It’s only common sense. Why would there be such a battle to get into places like Harvard Business School if it wasn’t a relevant factor?

                  As for your mountain/mole hill label, I’m sure that may be the case for you. I’m not sure this kid would agree. That should matter. If individual situations vary, isn’t that a good reason in and of itself for the Miami AD to find a fairer way to handle graduate transfers?


          • Jared S.

            Agreed with you on the fact that academics are clearly a huge motivator here.

            As an aside… is there any instance of a player like this fighting to get what they want, and then when a decision is made – whether it’s “for” or “against” them – they keep fighting the injustice of the system?

            I ask because it seems like students and their parents who make a big deal out of this unfairness (and it really is unfair) stop fighting for justice once their case is closed, so to speak. I’d love to see some former student-athletes (with graduate degrees!) band together and make life difficult for the NCAA and easier for the kids behind them…..

            Instead it seems like they are only incensed and worried about the unfairness when it is directly effecting them. They fight as long as they think there’s a chance of improving their own lot, then once their fate is decided they move on.

            Anyway, not sure what my point is there, just sharing what bugs me about these cases.

            As I’ve said before I think I really like the proposal that students be granted one – just one! – restriction-free transfer in their college career. After that, if they choose to transfer again then it’s a one-year sit-down. And the schools would get to restrict which schools. But I think there should be a limit to which schools can be restricted, and it should be a uniform nation-wide policy. I don’t care what the policy is as long as it’s uniform. I’d be okay with no same-conference and no teams on the next two years’ schedules…. IF every student were allowed one restriction-free transfer.

            OOOOOR (and I know this will never happen)….

            I’m fine keeping the system the way it is IF coaches have to play by the same rules. They have to sit out a year if they transfer and the college’s administration gets to limit where they go.


            • I’m unaware of any examples of continuing to fight, but, then again, if you think about it, these battles are usually marked by two things: (1) personal desire to transfer and (2) pressure coming through publicity rather than litigation. If a kid and a family succeed, I’m not sure there’s much energy left to promote the bigger picture.

              That being said, it’s not hard to think that the constant media battles haven’t added up to something bigger, as the NCAA now struggles to find a way to liberalize its transfer policy.


  12. From reading the comments, it’s interesting to me that those who oppose player compensation also seem to oppose any relaxation of the transfer rules. People that would never agree to similar restrictions on compensation or mobility related to their own jobs think that just because a student has a scholarship (not a 4-5-year scholarship – a 1-year scholarship), he or she should put up with any restrictions when you have completed your side of the contract. It’s ridiculous.


  13. I still do not get it. He has graduated. Go where he wants to go and be done with it. The AD comment is just baloney with a dessert of shit.


  14. Charles

    Serves him right for wanting to go pro in something other than sports.


  15. lakedawg

    Mark Richt has reminded completely quite on this matter. Believe he would here to his always let a player go wherever they desire, but UM and .a.d ar edhering to school policy.


  16. This is why I try hard not to give any money to the entire broken, corrupt college sports machine.

    They get a little from my ratings when I watch on TV, but that’s it.

    No merch. No tickets. Nothing.

    They are gruesomely taking advantage of these kids and it is utterly despicable.