Across the wire today we found out that Randy Edsall has finally agreed, thanks in part to public pressure, to allow quarterback Danny O'Brien to transfer to Vanderbilt should that be the spot the rising junior quarterback wants to plant his roots. While Maryland does have the formal tampering complain logged with the ACC this does, at least for now, make it okay for the 2010 ACC rookie of the year to take his talents to Nashville.
Consider it a win for O'Brien in the short term and in general proof positive for what the college football media world can do for a kid when the axes are ground for a cause. Personally, I was not one of the axe grinders in this campaign. Not because I thought Edsall was right but because this case did not appear to be much different from most other transfer cases we've seen in recent years. The restriction itself; no ACC schools, no future ACC schools (Syracuse and Pitt) and no one on the Terps schedule for the next few years, was pretty standard. Vanderbilt was the odd school to be added to the mix but given Edsall and Kevin Anderson's shaky ground in College Park it made some sense.
If folks think it sucked for Tom O'Brien to see Russell Wilson be a Heisman candidate, lead Wisconsin to a BCS Bowl and Big Ten Championship imagine what O'Brien success at Vanderbilt would do for Edsall. His team's not very good, likely not going to a bowl in 2012 and Vanderbilt could possibly have the quarterback that he benched and the coach who could/should have been hired instead of him.
Selfish and petty thinking but that's what every coach does. In this instance and this instance alone Randy Edsall was no more of jerk than Randy Shannon, Al Golden or many other coaches throughout the college ranks. You see, while Edsall is a jerk in general as Aaron Torres has pointed out here before, this particular issue is not one that qualifies him as a unique type of jerk or one that, for me at least, adds to the massive jerksandwich that he's shoving down the throats of the Maryland football faithful.
No, this is a college football problem and not a Randy Edsall is a jerk issue. For those of you not keeping score what Edsall did is not largely unique, hell he was even more lenient than two transfers we've seen in the past coming out of the ACC. The issue is people didn't pay much attention to Robert Marve or Storm Johnson leaving on account of Shannon and Golden not fitting the "jerk narrative" that has already been constructed about Edsall and the fact that both players weren't as well thought of as O'Brien.
Edsall wrote off the ACC (now and future), Vandy and any Terps opponents. Al Golden just a year ago told Storm Johnson that not only was transferring to ACC or future opponents off the table but so was the SEC and any other BCS school within six hours of Johnson's hometown of Loganville, GA. But perhaps Al Golden was merely following in the footsteps of his predecessor Randy Shannon. Shannon originally dropped the no ACC, SEC, future opponents and no schools in the state of Florida restriction on Marve a few years earlier. Later Shannon would go back and remove UCF and USF from the restricted schools pool, much in the same way Edsall removed the Vandy restriction.
This isn't just an ACC situation as Derek Dooley has had his own issues with transfers including DeAnthony Arnett. Like Edsall, after a public relations hit Dooley pulled the conditions that folks railed against.
Randy Edsall is not unique in what he did. It doesn't make him more jerk-ish. What it does do and what hopefully does come of this is a more closely examined transfer conditions policy. Less people willing to write off players leaving as nothing more than malcontents who get what they deserve when conditions are handed down or cowards who want to go elsewhere to seek playing time because they can't cut it at one program.
The Maryland situation did a good job of pulling back the curtain on the paranoia, the vindictiveness and the hypocrisy of the coaches' role in the transfer process. Men running these programs are flat out scared that a kid who leaves them will go on to star elsewhere. If they star elsewhere that would mean they just aren't good at their job and, "Hello hot seat, here I come."
Catty and childish in their push to punish a kid who wants to get out of the program. These kids sign a one year scholarship and if a coach were to jettison them off it is not something they lose sleep over. However, a kid decides this isn't the place for him or he wants to move closer to home and suddenly the coach has to make sure to teach this young man a lesson about commitment.
Ultimately, as folks are seeing more and more the hypocrisy reigns supreme in all of this. Coaches feel free to go where they please if the situation is right. Randy Edsall, more money at Maryland and a better situation (in theory at least) and boom he's gone. Al Golden, more money and a better job and yupper he's out of there. Derek Dooley peacing out on LaTech after a few years in Ruston. Yet O'Brien, Johnson and Arnett better not look to improve their situation because that's just not fair to the big bad coaches.
The simple fact of the matter is all transfers suck for the kids and if a kid is willing to uproot where he's at currently to move to different situation then it is probably damn well worth it. Same as it is for coaches or athletic directors. Whether it is moving to be closer to family, not liking his prospects for success at the current location or insufferable friction with the coaching staff the point is the kid makes a decision to leave and putting unjust restrictions on his movement is just making the situation worse.