The Height Of Athletic Hypocrisy

By David Whitley
Updated: January 1, 2009

ORLANDO — If his name was Robert Garve or Rudolph Parve or even Randy Shannon, he would be enrolling at Florida or Tennessee or wherever he wanted next week.

But his name is Robert Marve, so all he can do is look at the words on his old T-shirts.

Property of UM Athletic Dept.

He never knew that meant the University of Miami owns not just the shirt, but also the person wearing it.

Marve wants to transfer to another school, just like thousands of students do every year. But the Tampa native is a “student-athlete,” so his old school can tell him where he can and can’t go.

We’re used to Draconian logic when it comes to college athletics. But this one might set an NCAA record for hypocrisy.

Athletes usually have to sit out a year when they transfer to another school. Many times they aren’t allowed to attend a school in the same conference.

Miami not only won’t let Marve transfer to another ACC school, he can’t go to an SEC school or even one in his home state. Why not just tell him he can only attend Montana State and can’t ever date anyone from Florida?

Strike that. I don’t want to give the NCAA cartel any ideas.

Its members get apoplectic at the thought of athletes transferring. Players, you see, are too young and impressionable to know what’s best for them.

More importantly, transferring disrupts depth charts and causes coaching indigestion. And God forbid if the ex-backup quarterback ever came back to beat you.

That thinking is so ingrained that most accept it as logical. When asked about the conditions on Marve’s release, Shannon told a South Florida radio station, “I think it’s fair.”


The Hurricanes don’t play Florida until 2013 and no other SEC teams are currently scheduled. Marve was considering going to Florida and Tennessee. How would it hurt Miami if he went either place?


The NCAA generally allows student-prisoners to transfer and not sit out a year. Unless they play revenue-producing sports. What makes their rights less absolute?


The Big One schools never really answer: If coaches can bolt without needing permission, why can’t athletes?

Oh yeah, I forgot. Coaches are responsible adults who never make self-centered decisions that disrupt programs. Just look at Rich Rodriguez, Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, Bob Huggins, Billy Gillispie, ad nauseam.

Coaches routinely entertain offers and break contracts. If Tennessee had offered Shannon a $15 million deal, he would have caught the first private jet to Knoxville.

And good for him. Coaches should be able to pursue and accept better opportunities, otherwise it’s restraint of trade. Of course, they also leave behind recruits who get stuck with new coaches and systems they didn’t sign on for.

That’s not the case with Marve. He started 11 games last season, was suspended twice, claims Shannon doesn’t talk to him and no doubt bears some responsibility for his demise.

All that means Marve is a troublemaking traitor to many Miami fans.

Funny, they were more than happy to accept disgruntled Brock Berlin when he transferred from Florida in 2002.

The move worked out best for Berlin. Who knows about Marve’s future, but shouldn’t he have more say in deciding it?

He can always appeal, though that’s usually a waste of time. It would be worth it if he could get Shannon on the stand. When it comes to changing schools, ask a simple question.

Is he willing to be held to the same standard as his players?

It seems only fair.