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The issue continues to simmer, however, with one advocate insisting that the 6-8 Uthoff should be free to play wherever he chooses. "The NCAA, they prioritize coaches' rights and schools' rights over players' freedoms," said Ramogi Huma of the National Co

 

Wisconsin moved Thursday to defuse the nation's latest athletes-rights imbroglio, clearing redshirt freshman Jarrod Uthoff to transfer to any basketball program outside the Big Ten Conference.

The issue continues to simmer, however, with one advocate insisting that the 6-8 Uthoff should be free to play wherever he chooses. "The NCAA… they prioritize coaches' rights and schools' rights over players' freedoms," said Ramogi Huma of the National College Players Association, "and it's time for that to end."

In California a day earlier, a proposed student-athletes bill of rights — which among other things would prohibit restrictions on transfers — was endorsed by the state senate's education committee and will get further study in the next month.

The debate comes amid a spate of at least partially contested transfer attempts in ollege football and basketball. Saint Joseph's basketball coach Phil Martelli kept graduated 7-footer Todd O'Brien from playing out his final season of eligibility at Alabama-Birmingham. Maryland football coach Randy Edsall initially refused to allow quarterback Danny O'Brien to weigh Vanderbilt as a potential destination, but relented amid heavy criticism (and saw O'Brien ultimately land at Wisconsin).

Tulsa has denied basketball player Jordan Clarkson, its leading scorer this past season, permission to contact five of eight schools he sought to consider, according to the Tulsa World.

At Wisconsin, the school said Uthoff — a former Rivals Top 150 recruit out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who hasn't played a game with the Badgers — sought permission to contact 16 schools and was denied access to four . Uthoff had told an Iowa-based high school sports website, metrosportsreport.com, that Badgers coach Bo Ryan initially placed every Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference school, plus Iowa State and Marquette, on a list of 25 schools that couldn't contact him.

Uthoff met with school officials Thursday, and they in turn huddled with Ryan before relaxing his restrictions. If the player wants to pursue a transfer within the Big Ten, he'll have to request a hearing in the next week.

That didn't mollify Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who heads the California-based NCPA.

"It's a double standard," Huma said. "Bo Ryan could bolt tomorrow for another program that's maybe more prestigious in basketball and has a higher salary for him, and no one would blink. And neither would he."