According to George Schroeder of USA Today, Oklahoma has changed course in regards to quarterback Austin Kendall and a potential transfer to West Virginia. The Waxhaw, N.C. native will be allowed to transfer to West Virginia (if he so chooses) as a graduate transfer without losing a season of eligibility.
BREAKING: Oklahoma will grant grad transfer QB Austin Kendall the waiver to be immediately eligible at West Virginia, @usatodaysports— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) January 16, 2019
The school worked through its concerns over a transfer within the Big 12 to arrive at the decision.
Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported that OU was blocking Kendall from immediate eligibility at West Virginia on the grounds that it would be a move to a Big 12 opponent. Quite predictably, the decision received a ton of backlash throughout the day before OU changed direction.
This is a bit of a loaded subject in the context of Oklahoma Sooners football, but I’m glad they’ve changed their stance in this instance — even if it happened to be the result of public pressure. I understand why Lincoln Riley and the staff made their original decision, as the thought of a guy with three years in the system going to a conference foe (and bringing information with him) is obviously a bit unsettling. Also, the comparisons to Mayfield, Murray and Hurts situations are all false equivalencies for different reasons. Having said that, a player who graduates should be allowed to transfer to whichever school he pleases, and trying to prevent that from happening can only be viewed as self-serving or vindictive.
If this change of course has come about due to the backlash, that’s fine. This was going to follow Riley around for years if it stood, so allowing Kendall to do what he wants will hopefully allow this to be old news in the near future. Riley’s clearly an intelligent guy, but I have one question — what did he think was going to happen here? In this climate, doing something like this is always going to come under fire, and he probably should have know that. If he’s going to change his mind after people call you out, he shouldn’t have made the call to block his immediate eligibility in the first place.
Anyway, Riley’s a great coach, and OU’s lucky to have him. I couldn’t think of a better guy to lead this program into the future. However, he’s still a young guy who’s still in the process of growing as a coach. I understand why OU made the original decision, and I wouldn’t have lost any sleep had it been upheld, but this seems like a learning experience for him. In all likelihood, this will blow over with most people residing outside of Morgantown and Austin.
Now let’s get back to celebrating the impending arrival of Jalen Hurts!