Quarterback Wes Lunt wants to transfer from Oklahoma State. Head coach Mike Gundy is allowing it, but he has reportedly put severe restrictions in place.
Gundy is taking a lot of heat. Does he deserve it?
In order for another school to offer Lunt a scholarship, he must first be released by Oklahoma State. But rather than grant Lunt a full release, Gundy has made it contingent on Lunt not transferring to several schools, according to the Tulsa World:
Sources close to the situation said the list includes schools from the Big 12, Southeastern Conference and Pac-12, as well as Southern Mississippi and Central Michigan (a future OSU opponent).
Lunt still can attend any school of his choosing, but he would have to pay his own way for a year if he was not granted a release. If Lunt does not want to pay his own way, then that means three schools on his wish list (Vanderbilt, Southern Miss and Tennessee) no longer are possibilities.
The NCAA slaps a one-year, sit-out penalty on a student-athlete transferring from one FBS school to another. If Lunt were to transfer to an FCS school, he could play this fall.
Perhaps the SEC and Pac-12 were restricted because those conferences have bowl contracts to play Big 12 teams. But the Big 12 also has contracts with the Buffalo Wild Wings, Heart of Dallas and Meineke Car Care Bowls, which feature Big 12 vs. Big Ten teams. Why wasn't the Big Ten included in the restrictions?
It is also possible that Oklahoma State encountered interference from Pac-12 and SEC schools. Did any schools contact Lunt regarding his potential destination? If that's the case, Oklahoma State has a valid reason to restrict his transfer.
Unfortunately, we won't hear any statements from other schools regarding Lunt because he is now technically a recruit. The NCAA forbids schools from publicly commenting on a recruit's status until after he signs with a school.
Maybe Gundy doesn't want Lunt to transfer to Southern Miss because its new head coach is Todd Monken, Oklahoma State's former offensive coordinator. If he allows Lunt to transfer there, he could be setting a precedent that condones players following their former coaches or recruiters.
But don't coaches encourage their former players or recruits to follow them when they leave a school?
Former Tennessee assistant coach Ed Orgeron reportedly did just that the night he decided to follow Lane Kiffin from Tennessee to USC. If it is within the rules for coaches to encourage players to follow them to a new school, why should players be punished if they agree to go?
These reported restrictions make Gundy look petty. A head coach making millions is throwing up roadblocks for a kid relying on financial aid to play somewhere else. Is Gundy afraid Lunt will light it up at another school?
It's possible. But there is another reason why Gundy is taking heavy criticism from the court of public opinion.
Back then, Gundy appeared to be a coach who would go to no end to defend his players. He was a coach who appeared to be consistently looking after his players' best interests.
Gundy may still be that coach.
But his reputation has taken a hit.