The verdict is in. Jarrod Uthoff, the centerpiece of a firestorm over Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's -- and by extension all of college basketball's -- transfer policies, has made his decision. It's Iowa. From ESPN's "Outside The Lines":
Uthoff told "Outside The Lines" reporter Steve Delsohn on Wednesday night that he will be attending Iowa even though Badgers coach Bo Ryan put severe limitations on his request to transfer.
Uthoff said he'll have to pay his own way next year at Iowa and also will have to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules. But that's not an issue for Uthoff, who hails from nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Uthoff said he didn't want money to be a factor in his decision.
"We can afford to pay for my education for a year," said Uthoff, 19.
And to think the whole mess could have been avoided in the first place.
When the Uthoff-Ryan transfer mess kicked off, it was in large part thanks to Ryan's overzealous limitations on Uthoff's list of potential destinations. (A massive communications blunder also played a role.) Ryan blocked a whole score of schools -- all of the Big Ten, all of the ACC, as well as Marquette, Florida, and Iowa State -- in an effort to keep the 6-foot-8 Uthoff from transferring to any school that might possibly play Ryan's Badgers in the remaining three years of Uthoff's eligibility.
What Ryan did wasn't all that much worse than what many coaches have done in recent years, but it was slightly extreme, and more than anything it highlighted the essential problems with the balance of power between college programs and the players they recruit.
By the time the storms calmed, Ryan relented, allowing Uthoff unrestricted permission to contact any school outside the Big Ten. As it turns out, Uthoff eventually found his way back home, and is eager enough to play for Iowa that he is willing to abide by the Big Ten's new intra-conference transfer rule and pay his own tuition -- in his case, the more affordable in-state resident tuition -- as well as sit out another season even after redshirting as a freshman at Wisconsin.
Uthoff was a low top-100 recruit when he arrived in Madison, so his impact on the Hawkeyes two years after the fact remains an open question we won't be able to answer for some time. But the impact on the awkwardness level between Iowa and Wisconsin, which will meet each other at least once a season, and often twice, in Big Ten play, can't possibly be overstated. At the very least, here's hoping for a new, totally incongruous Iowa-Wisconsin basketball rivalry. Should be fun!