Blog Entry

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:56 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:30 am

By Matt Norlander

HARTFORD, Conn. -- “Jim, this is our first chance to ask you about Andre Drummond—”

And then the statement was cut off before it could turn into a question.  It was uttered by Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs, the state’s most frequent and fearless prodder of Jim Calhoun. The agitated UConn coach knew what was coming. Before it came, he rambled on for a few minutes in a terse tone regarding his team’s 79-71 win over Fairfield, a game in which the Stags outscored the Huskies 45-33 in the second half. Calhoun was already his usual ornery self in the wake of a miserable final 20 minutes — he didn’t want questions regarding a scholarship situation that was secretly resolved weeks ago.

“Andre Drummond gave the information at the time, which was correct,” Calhoun said, referring to Drummond taking (not possibly taking — taking) teammate Michael Bradley’s scholarship at the start of the season. “It was then received by the NCAA, it us took two and a half months to work it out. My first responsibility was not to tell the press what was going on, because it’s not any of your business. It’s a private matter between two young men. ”

This is UConn, a public university and the biggest sporting deal in this state. The goings-on of the program are of constant interest and curiosity by the public, privacy matters be damned. May not be fair, but Calhoun reaps so many benefits of all he’s done, he knows how the game works from the opposite end. He was just defending his players and his team.

His reputation too, yet again, which is connected to the fact the No. 1 prospect of the 2011 class strolled onto campus after fall text books hit the school store shelves. No matter: Drummond had a spot on the team, nary an hurdle. There are skeptics of that, fair or not.

For many, it seemed wrong that Calhoun — now about to serve his three-game Big East suspension, handed down by the NCAA last season after — was able to get Drummond on the team. That’s why questions and curiosity abounded. The two don’t connect, but uneasy connotations lingered with how the Huskies got off getting arguably the best player in this class and could squeeze him in despite only have 10 scholarships available.

Calhoun stood there Thursday night and continued his defense/attack all at once.

“I’m not going to tell you about their private life. One’s a walk-on, that’s Andre Drummond, and the other one has a full scholarship,” Calhoun said. “I don’t know why it’s your business or anyone else’s business, to be honest with you. ‘Because we need to know.’ You need to know what? … I don’t know what this has to do with anything.”

Calhoun wanted to get back to bitching about his 10-1 team’s bad game.

"It's a very unusual situation, but we'll go into full detail later about this, so we can tell everyone, so they can hear the story." – Jim Calhoun to me, outside Gampel Pavilion on  Oct. 14 of this year.

Calhoun himself never went into full detail. Outgoing sports information director Kyle Muncy did this week. We’ve heard the story, and we want to know more. Now Calhoun and Drummond don’t want to share anything else. Yes, it’s also an extremely sensitive issue for Drummond. For Bradley? I don’t know. The redshirt freshman wasn’t made available to speak after the game.

“Before I was coming in, Mike called me and said I’m going to give my school, and I was like, ‘Man, you don’t gotta do that,’” Drummond said. “I don’t really need to say anything to anybody because that’s between me and him. It really doesn’t need to go out publicly to anybody, you know what I’m saying? Besides, no one asked me what’s going on, so I’m not going to make it my problem to go and tell somebody, ‘OK, me and Mike decided not to do anything.’ So I just kept it to myself.”

Drummond said he’ll take a scholarship next year, an indication he won’t look to leave for the NBA draft. Another conversation for another time, but I did find it interesting he dropped reference to returning next year a few times, as if to try to give this story some spin.

“All I know is, me and Mike, we did what we had to do,” Drummond said. “I let him keep his scholarship, because I feel like deserved it. I can pay my way in. Nobody needs to know what I’m doing, like if I’m paying my way, I don’t need to go around and tell [people].”

Drummond’s only been on campus for a few months, but he knows what the program means; he grew up in Connecticut, which is also why he took the loan on. It makes much more logistical sense that an in-state kid who will make NBA millions in the coming months or years accept walk-on status, rather than a player from a poor background in Tennessee accepting the burden of tens of thousands of dollars in dues.

Drummond being a walk-on also does not count against UConn’s APR, which is also why the Huskies are in a scholarship crunch.

The hazy details of this story still float out there. It was originally reported that Drummond got the scholarship. Calhoun, Drummond and everyone else accepted those reports and responded accordingly, despite the fact all the time Bradley and Drummond were technically of walk-on status. When Bradley took the scholarship in late October, no one surrounding the program made any effort to clarify the situation. It’s a positive thing — why not put it out there? The Huskies and Calhoun were lambasted for how this originally came about.

When Drummond and the school did the smart, sensible thing, they kept quiet. What a strange thing to do.

Photo: AP


Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:31 am

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

It appears that you are the idiot, mtnhawk.  While you are partially correct about 12 credit hours, there are lists of exemptions to this rule. The one that makes sense is the Remedial, Tutorial, and Non credit courses which can give the student up to a 6 credit exemption and still remain eligible.  Seeing Drummond originally planned on enrolling at prep school for a year before entering the draft the only issue for Uconn would be to keep him eligible while he is at Uconn.  If there was a loophole to do that, you can bet Calhoun would find it.  So if he is taking just 2 classes this semester and needed tutorial work to keep him GPA eligible fo both classes the exemption may apply.  This also makes sense because his original plans were not to go to college so he may have passed on some prerequiset hs courses.  By the way,  I read that he was only enrolled in 2 course on one of YOUR fan forums.

It's funny because out of my whole post you choose to pick apart the 2 class part without even considering exemptions and loopholes because that was the only part you felt you could contest.  Bottom line is Drummond isn't the hero for doing Michael Bradley a solid.  Going the walk on route was the only way he could do the one and done route without hurting Uconn's already poor APR. And Drummond isn't taking grants or student loans because he plans on pursuing higher education. Another Jim Calhoun loophole!  This is why Calhoun wouldn't answer any questions about it.  That is what Norlander's artile was about.  That was what Jacob's question was about.  And you should be embarrassed for defending that, fan or no fan!   You knucklehead!

Since: Dec 27, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:07 pm

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

Luke! Is it a compliance issue? Are you serious? You write for whom? What a meddling dolt. I will bet you were late cutting the oranges at half time for your high school team at some point. You probably weren't good at that either. Maybe you could deliver and push the play button on the vcr and were a hero to all your zit faced AV cronies, but you nevr played one minute of organized sports in your life. So how about you....SUCK IT!

Since: Dec 27, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:03 pm

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

Look threepts33 you ignorant idiot. It's people like you that keep the negativity rolling. If Andre Drummond took 2 classes, he would be labeled a part time student and would not be allowed to play on the team at all. A student athlete is required to take 4 classes minimum to achieve full time student status and to become eligible to play. So how about this suck it!

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: December 27, 2011 12:43 pm

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

Why? Because they're questioning this very odd situation that Uconn has managed to keep out of the Media for 2 months.  Because it's the same Uconn who was under investigation and found guilty of recruiting violations.  Because the scholarship issue they write about and Calhoun is so sensitive about involves one of the best recruits in the country?  Or because you're a Uconn fan?

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:42 am

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

People will find it very hard to beleive that this was all decisions made by players on their own.  If it was, shame on Uconn for allowing it to happen.  I'm speaking of the original decision for Bradley to give up his scholarship.  It was, in fact, a decision that drew national attention, scrutney and criticism.  Stepping back and looking at this objectively, why this reversal of fortune for Bradley now?  Coming out of a program on probation?  More than likely, Uconn didn't like the scrutney they were drawing to squeeze a blue chip recruit that is "a one & done" into their program on probation.  The logical solution is to have Drummond go on student loans that could easily be payed back next year when he signs a big contract.  I said logical but far from ethical.  Most student loans and grants are federally funded and intended educational purposes.  Drummond, who only took 2 classes his first semester and will never graduate, is consuming resources intended for educational purposes.  This means there is some needy student somewhere who won't get  these resources.

Uconn fans must be so proud!

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:06 pm

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

There appear to be three elements to this story. On is a coach who is on suspension for rule infractions. The focus on him is of his own doing. That focus will continue, whether of not he likes it, to scrutinize every player transaction.

The second element is the public. In a public university the public pays most of the costs of educating students. Even those on scholarship are not paying (including the athletic department payments) the full cost. The public has a vested interest in all university transactions, especially those which involve the use of public money (all students.)

The third element is the student athletes. These are the good guys in most stories. No matter what the school does, the students come to class, learn their subjects, practice with the team and play in the games. The school realizes thousands, even millions of dollars because the students chose them. The media need to remember that this is about the school and not the players. The media does have the right to question transactions as noted above. They should not have the right to cast aspersions on the students without proof of wrong actions by the students. This appears to be such a case.

Give it up, media. There is no wrong doing here. Leave these students alone to get on with their schooling and however they have worked out the situation.

Since: Oct 15, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2011 1:31 am

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

NOT A DIME BACK! Norlander!

Since: Dec 23, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 7:22 pm

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

Maybe you should do a bit more research before you criticize someone... moron.  Drummond cannot be a legitimate walk-on and receive financial aid from UConn.  He CAN be a legitimate walk-on if he chooses to pay his own way whether it is from student loans or his own money.  The kid is about to become a multi-millionaire, do you think he is worried about a 11K loan (CT resident)?  22K if he lives on campus?  He grew up one hour from the UConn campus.  There is nothing bigger in the state of Connecticut than UConn basketball.  Don't you think he wanted to go there even without Calhoun's influence?

Since: Aug 24, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:33 pm

From SI's Luke Winn:

"The Huskies technically don't have room to add [Drummond] to the roster, and he can't be a walk-on, because he was already recruited.  Due to APR and NCAA-probation penalties, UConn is limited to 10 scholarships, and it already has 10 scholarship players." [Aug. 30, 2011]

So ... what happened here?  Did Drummond take Bradley's scholarship?  Apparently not.  Is Drummond a recruited walk-on?  That's what it looks like.  No wonder people are asking questions.  It's not a privacy issue, Coach; it's an NCAA compliance issue.

Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:55 am

Scholarship issue a very sensitive one at UConn

The obvious question is the non-scholarship player getting illegal benefits ?  Cash kickbacks ?

Calhoun CHEATS. Its a fact of life. 

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