A short while back, we all had the Rushel Shell transfer to digest. Shell, if you'll recall, had had just about enough of Pitt and wanted out. The Panthers, given the history between the two, as expected, promptly blocked the running back from heading to join Todd Graham at Arizona State.
Was it fair? That's debatable. But as I said at the time, one thing that's not up for debate was Pitt's right to do so. They played within the rules and forced Shell to either pay his own way for a year at Arizona State or to go elsewhere. Shell ended up at UCLA and that was the end of it.
Enter Sheldon Jeter.
Jeter, as I wrote about recently, is transferring from Vanderbilt's basketball program, stating he wants to be closer to home. He's from western Pennsylvania and Pitt, as you would expect, was a natural fit. But word broke from the Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo today that Jeter is being blocked from transferring to Pitt. Coach Kevin Stallings is the one playing the heel role here. He, for the record, had no comment earlier today.
The move appears to be a curious one and Anchor of Gold says that other transfers from Vandy have gone through without a hitch.
As you can imagine, eyes will be on Pitt fans to see how they react. A great many were fine with Shell being blocked from Arizona State, but what's the deal here?
Look, my stance remains unchanged. I said at the time that it may not be fair to Shell to not allow him to go to Arizona State, but that Pitt was within their right to block him from leaving for whatever reason. That of course holds true for Vanderbilt in the case of Jeter. Pitt fans may not be happy with it, but it is what it is and they're not breaking any rules.
That said, the two situations are entirely different.
For one, Pitt and Vanderbilt don't have any known feud - certainly not one that was so strained due to such a recent incident like the Todd Graham fiasco. As I've been over countless times, I firmly believe that 95% of other schools would have acted in exactly the same manner if they were in Pitt's shoes. So please, stop with the hypocrisy of lambasting Pitt if you're an outsider.
There could have been tampering (face it, we may never know if Pitt talked to Jeter before he officially left), but there hasn't been the evidence that existed with the Shell transfer with an Arizona State player welcoming him to the team on Twitter before he even requested his release. But if tampering did exist (and let's face it - the Jeter transfer was being rumored everywhere under the sun for weeks now), it'd be a lot easier to understand the decision to block him.
Like I said, Vanderbilt has the right to block Jeter if they wish. Maybe they feel as if he tampered. Maybe it was a messy divorce and they don't want to give him the pleasure of going to his top choice. Who really knows - whatever it is, though, they're playing by the rules. And if Jeter really wants to come to Pitt, he can always appeal to Vanderbilt (which Matt Steinbrink of Rivals tweeted he will do) or pay his own way at Pitt for his first year.
But one thing is certain - it's not the same as the Rushel Shell transfer.