By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) After seeing—and hearing—University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan being tarred and feathered while being dragged through town square on his way to the gallows for the way he “mishandled” the Jared Uthoff transfer request last week by members of the media, all I could do was sit back and shake my head in disgust.
I couldn’t—and still can’t—understand how a man as honorable and respected as Bo Ryan, a coach that has only seen one other kid transfer out in his 11 years in Madison prior to the Uthoff request last week, a man that has never come under NCAA scrutiny for shady recruiting practices, a man that has never been investigated by the NCAA for any type of academic scandal, and a man that has never “run” a player off to make room for a higher profile recruit, all of a sudden became the poster boy for everything that is wrong with college athletics.
Seriously, was the news during this past week so slow that a story about a redshirt freshman and his transfer “issues” was able to take on a life of its own across the country?
There are so many other pressing issues in the world of college basketball that a simple transfer player—one of over 350 this season alone mind you—whom people felt was “wrongfully” blocked by a miserly old coach from attending certain schools, should have been at the bottom of the complaint box.
At first, I thought that maybe I was being overly sensitive to the issue at hand. After all, I am a proud Alum of the University of Wisconsin and I am glad to say that a man like Bo Ryan is the head coach of the Badgers.
But, the more I got to thinking about it, and the more and more I heard people reacting so negatively towards Ryan, the more irritated I became.
I wasn’t being overly sensitive at all.
I was just disappointed in the portrayal of Ryan as one of the “bad guys” of college basketball when I knew he was just the opposite.
Bo Ryan is one of the good guys in the sport, and if this petty Uthoff transfer fiasco is the worst thing that Bo Ryan will have done in his 28 years–and counting–as a head basketball coach in the college ranks, then I will take that any day of the week.
Could the situation have been handled differently?
Yes it probably could have, but it wasn’t like Uthoff was “run off” by Ryan and his staff.
Bo Ryan didn’t all of a sudden become the Les Miles, Nick Saban or Houston Nutt of the basketball world, where he over signed and had to “make room” for his bright and shiny new toy, and the only way to do so was to get rid of his old one.
The Badgers aren’t ineligible for next season’s NCAA Tournament–due to poor academic performance– like the UCONN Huskies are under the guidance of head coach Jim Calhoun.
There wasn’t a Sports Illustrated article about Wisconsin discussing alleged discipline problems, drug use, and bullying issues that have occurred recently at UCLA under the leadership of current head coach Ben Howland.
Bo Ryan and his staff have not recently been found to have committed any recruiting violations. However, Baylor head coach Scott Drew, his staff, and others cannot say the same.
It’s OK to disagree with how the Ryan-Uthoff situation unfolded, but the outrage and vitriol being directed towards one of the few coaches that does things the right way is comical at best.
A good coach and a wonderful person caught in a bad situation.
It’s as simp
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.