Earlier this week, we covered a potential coup for the Sun Devils: Rushel Shell, a five-star running back for the Pitt Panthers, was considering a transfer out of the Rust Belt. One of the many options was Arizona State, where former Pitt head coach Todd Graham had taken root.
Today, the wind has been taken out of the sails by Pitt, and a transfer to either ASU or Arizona has been blocked, according to Joe Schad.
Former Pitt running back Rushel Shell will not be released to transfer to Arizona State to play for former Pitt coach Todd Graham.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 5, 2013
Schad goes on to clarify that neither ASU nor Arizona will be allowed to give him a scholarship for the upcoming season.
Shell won't be released to Arizona State or Arizona. Also considering Cal and UCLA.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 5, 2013
It's a vindictive move, and one that Rushel Shell should appeal if ASU or Arizona was his top choice. Under normal circumstances, teams block transfers to other teams in the same conference, while also protecting themselves against future out-of-conference opponents. Arizona State is neither of those things.
Panther Lair was all over this news, also noting that the Arizona coaching staff has former Pitt staff:
#Pitt is likely concerned that releasing Shell to ASU or AZ could open the door for more players to transfer to those schools.— Chris Peak (@PantherLair) April 5, 2013
The University of Pittsburgh has allowed an internal issue (the departure of Todd Graham and other staff) to adversely affect the future of a student-athlete who wishes to leave the school for a better fit. Why would Pitt want to do this? As Panther Lair pointed out above, it's worried about a domino effect. However, that should not be a consideration.
Hopefully we'll have more on this story -- there can still be a happy ending if the decision gets overruled by someone with a lick of sense. Besides, ASU wouldn't want to play against Shell if he were to transfer to UCLA or Cal.