In the NCAA, player transfers are quickly becoming a problem on a yearly basis. Year in and year out, more and more players seem to request releases so they can transfer else, some in the hopes of receiving more playing time, while others are looking to be closer to family.
There are a plethora of reasons why people transfer, some of which we will never fully know.
More often than not, players make their decision to transfer shortly after the season ends. This gives them ample time to go on visits to schools, and make an informed decision on where they would like to attend school in the fall.
In some cases, players make their decisions much later in the summer, and that creates headaches for their current team. That exact situation presented itself in late-June, when Memphis Tigers star Austin Nichols requested his release from the University of Memphis.
Back at the end of June, Nichols had requested his release from the Memphis program. With his decision coming so late in the off-season, head coach Josh Pastner and the athletics administration at Memphis originally declined his request.
With all of the big-name high school talents having made their decision, and the top transfers already on their way to new programs, it’s tough to argue with Memphis’ initial decision.
When the dust settled, Memphis opted to grant Nichols his release, but not without a few conditions attached.
That all changed Tuesday afternoon. Nichols and his family obtained a lawyer, and were going to take the matter to court. That was until Memphis withdrew all conditions from the agreement, thus allowing Nichols to transfer wherever his heart desires.
Per the original transfer agreement, Austin Nichols was unable to transfer to any other American Athletic Conference institution, or any team on Memphis’ non-conference schedule for the 2015-16 season. Some of the teams on this year’s non-conference slate include Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and South Carolina.
He was also unable to transfer to teams already scheduled in 2016-17 for Memphis, which include Virginia, Iowa, and Providence. Instate rival Tennessee was also on the list of schools Nichols couldn’t transfer to.
Technically, Nichols could have transferred to the above schools, but he would have to pay his own way to redshirt for the 2015-16 season. If he wanted to keep his scholarship, which I’m sure he would want to, he would have had to look at other options for the remainder of his NCAA career.
Last season, Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Tigers. In 2015-16, he was considered as one of the top contenders to take home the AAC Player of the Year award.
Two teams that are strongly pursuing Nichols are Notre Dame and Marquette. The Golden Eagles pursuing Nichols comes as no surprise, as Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski tried to recruit Austin to come to Duke as a freshman.
The situation Nichols created when he opted to transfer doesn’t come along that often. It created a headache at the time of his decision, but it seems that Memphis acted in the best interest for both parties involved.