- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Florida International forward Dominique Ferguson's plan was to transfer to a school closer to his Indianapolis home. He wanted to be near his family and said he needed smaller classes and more academic attention to succeed.
He said he made his transfer request before Florida International fired third-year coach and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas on April 6.
FIU's denial of Ferguson's transfer is another example of a rejected request. This case also happened a week before the nationally scrutinized situation with Wisconsin redshirt freshman Jarrod Uthoff. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan initially denied Uthoff's request to transfer to any school in the Big Ten, ACC, neighboring states and Marquette. Uthoff won his appeal with the exception of being able to transfer within the Big Ten. The league has a rule that curtails transferring within the conference. It allows grant-in-aid but forces a player to lose a year of eligibility after sitting out.
"I wanted to go to a school close to my family in the Midwest,'' Ferguson told ESPN.com. "I went to Hargrave [Military Academy in Virginia] my senior year in high school and came straight here and had seen my family only a handful of times. It was hard on me and affected how I played.''
Ferguson, who is 6-foot-9, averaged 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds a game this past season. He had been ineligible as a freshman.
"I wanted to be home and be more comfortable,'' Ferguson said. "I had my meeting with the board, three people [who] had nothing to do with academics. It was supposed to be a nonbiased meeting. It seemed like it went great.
"I told them that I wanted to leave to go to a smaller school, that I needed more one-on-one smaller classes,'' Ferguson said. "Four hours later I got an email on the decision that it was more beneficial for me to stay in Miami, at FIU. It was puzzling. I had never met them. They didn't know me. I wanted to be near my family, a big family that I don't ever see.''
For the rest of Andy Katz's story, click here.