Former Vanderbilt basketball player Sheldon Jeter, who has been embroiled in a transfer dispute with Commodores basketball coach Kevin Stallings, said today his appeal to Vanderbilt officials to be released to the University of Pittsburgh has been denied.
Jeter, who played at Beaver Falls High School, announced in May his intentions to transfer to another school closer to home. Stallings informed Jeter, as is his right under NCAA scholarship bylaws, that he could transfer to any school in the country with the exception of Pitt.
Stallings has refused multiple attempts to speak on the matter.
Jeter spoke publicly today for the first time about his dilemma. He said he would make a decision "in the next few weeks. When asked if Pitt was still under consideration, Jeter said he could not answer the question.
Jeter could still enroll at Pitt, but the university would not be allowed to put him on scholarship for one year. Jeter would be responsible for paying his own way through school for that 12-month period.
Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson was asked this week about NCAA transfer rules and coaches being able to deny players access to certain schools. Pitt has blocked players from transferring as well, including running back Rushel Shell this spring.
"There ought to be some rationale for leaving," Pederson said. "That's where we've gotten a little bit tighter in terms of talking about departures. This shouldn't just be free agency and when you want to leave you just leave. We've made a commitment to recruit them and to educate them and to do the right things here, so there's just sometimes we feel like that we ought to encourage them to stick it out and get through this. In a lot of cases, then that ends up coming back around and they're fine. They go through periods of time when they're frustrated and they come back and they're fine. I think that's kind of part of life and a little bit of growing up is having to fight through some of the tougher times.
"What my concern overall is if every year a third of everybody's team transfers to a different school because they think they can play there, you kind of begin to wonder what we're trying to do here. Is that good for college athletics? It doesn't seem like it. And you don't know what would happen to them if they stayed longer. A lot of times, students want to transfer and you say, 'What if they had stayed here longer? How would it have turned out?' It could very well have turned out better than where they ended up transferring to. I think it's going to be an issue that we're going to be talking a lot about, both as a conference and nationally. What's fair and what's reasonable in terms of the transfer issues?"
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon currently has nine scholarship players on his roster, four below the NCAA scholarship limit.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1