So, let’s get this straight.
John L. Smith can sign a contract to be the next football coach at Weber State, then, before he coaches even one game, leave and take a job at Arkansas, but… Hawaii coach Norm Chow can block former Hawaii defensive back Mike Wadsworth and his parents from talking to BYU, a school he wants to transfer to when he returns from his mission in June?
What part of this doesn’t make sense?
Smith is a professional coach working in the NCAA. He can switch hats and jobs any time he wants. Wadsworth is a student athlete who attended Hawaii, loved it, went on an LDS mission to Leeds, England and when Hawaii changed coaches and the program is now under control of a staff that doesn’t know him, hasn’t met him, the NCAA says Hawaii can block him from transferring and getting a scholarship at BYU near his home of Orem.
I talked to Wadsworth’s father today. He is the one who is working on his son’s education while the missionary concentrates on finishing his church work in England. The son returns in June.
“All I want to do is take care of my children and provide the best I can for them,” said John Wadsworth, co-founder of Morinda, who lives in Orem. “My son had a very good experience at Hawaii but he wants to go to school closer to home after his mission.” The staff at Hawaii has never met the player.
NCAA rules say and LDS missionary must receive a release from his scholarship at the first school attended in order to transfer and gain another scholarship at a school after missionary service. This rule became more strict when Utah State’s Riley Nelson transferred to BYU after a mission to Spain.
The transfer paper work has been headed up by the Wadsworth family. Coach Chow at Hawaii blocked Wadsworth’s appeal to make the transfer and receive financial aid. As he understands it, this means Elder Wadsworth, nor his family, can contact or talk to BYU’s football staff, they’ve been blocked.
However, Wadsworth has applied for admission to BYU, been accepted, will pay his own way, and plans on attending BYU this fall.
So, what’s the big deal?
Chow cited the case of Riley Nelson as an example of BYU having an unfair advantage when it comes to LDS players who go on missions and he didn’t want to facilitate a transfer, thus the block.
In the meantime, John L. Smith is headed to Arkansas and the SEC after accepting a job at Weber State in the offseason.
Amazing, this NCAA stuff.