Commentary

June Jones right to let players transfer

Coach does right by his players, including Kyle Padron and others who decide to leave

Updated: February 8, 2012, 10:30 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

Former SMU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell transferred to Eastern Washington after losing his starting job during the 2009 season.

It worked out well for Mitchell, who won a Football Championship Subdivision national championship in 2010 and was one of nation's premier passers in 2011.

Kyle Padron is the latest SMU quarterback to transfer -- he's still looking for a home -- after losing his starting job during the 2011 season.

There's nothing wrong with that.

[+] EnlargeBo Levi Mitchell/June Jones
Vladimir Cherry/US PresswireJune Jones allowed Bo Levi Mitchell to transfer from SMU, and the quarterback went on to win the FCS national championship at Eastern Washington.
If it doesn't work out for a student-athlete at a program, and he has handled his business in the classroom and been a positive influence on the football program, then there's no good reason for a head coach to hinder that kid from transferring.

Give SMU coach June Jones a handclap because he gets it. Texas coach Mack Brown, too.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis doesn't.

Selfish, egotistical dudes like Weis rarely do because everything must revolve around them.

For example, Weis has recruited Dayne Crist, who played for him at Notre Dame, to join the Jayhawks for his last season of eligibility. We all know he's going to start this year.

Weis has recruited BYU transfer Jake Heaps to be his starter in 2013, which is why Brock Berglund, who enrolled in the spring, wanted to transfer.

At first, Weis wouldn't give Berglund his release.

Only after a public firestorm did Weis relent. Of course, he ripped the kid in a carefully worded statement released by the university.

That is poppycock.

Why any parent with choices ever lets his kid play for a selfish guy such as Weis is beyond me, especially since his stint as a head coach at Notre Dame and offensive coordinator at Florida has revealed him as one of the most overrated coaches in recent memory.

No coach is perfect.

Jones isn't, and neither is Brown, who gave Garrett Gilbert his release so he could transfer after he struggled at the start of last season for the Longhorns.

But they try to do right by the kids in their program. Garrett is expected to start for SMU next season, which is among the reasons Padron is looking for a new school.

"Sometimes these decisions are hard ones," Jones said, "but you have to be able to make them.

"Kyle is a great kid and we have a great relationship. We have a lot of great memories from his time with us, and we're trying to help him go wherever he wants to play."

Padron passed for 1,922 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions as a freshman with much of his numbers coming after he replaced Mitchell as the starter.

As a sophomore, he passed for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was supposed to blossom into a star as a junior, but struggled.

He was benched in the opener after throwing interceptions on SMU's first two possessions against Texas A&M. Two weeks later, he struggled against Northwestern (La.), completing just 7 of 16 passes for 138 yards with an interception.

He didn't play again.

"Last year, he put too much pressure on himself," Jones said. "You need to have fun. This is a fun game. He's a great kid. A season of sitting and watching next year will help him."

Allowing a kid to transfer is part of the covenant Jones makes with a family when he recruits a player. Every recruit doesn't work out, for whatever reason.

The coach misevaluated the player. The player wants a different role. But when you promise a father or mother to take care of his or her son, it doesn't just mean when the player is producing at an all-conference level.

Like a marriage, it means for better or worse.

Jones said it's also important for players to be happy. Too many negative vibes, for whatever reason, can alter the chemistry in a locker room.

"I have great relationships with our quarterbacks," Jones said. "We believe in them, and I believe Kyle can play -- and I'm not sure he can't play at the next level.

"I talk to Bo Levi and text him. He stops through the office when he comes. I think that's the way it should be."

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.