Former Pitt player Cam Johnson already had a list of potential suitors a mile long. Now, North Carolina is also in the mix for him.
Johnson can transfer to the Tar Heels, but the Panthers would force him to sit a year first.
Count Jay Bilas among the outraged:
No school should restrict the transfer of an unpaid, amateur student for any reason. Period. Pitt is wrong here, and should let Johnson go. pic.twitter.com/QFAa8lE5a9— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017
Personally, I'm a pretty big fan of Bilas. Love his analysis, insight, and generally think he's right on most topics. And he's even been gracious enough to preview some Pitt games in the past for us against Duke and also against Villanova. But the idea that he's specifically calling Pitt out here as if the school is some sort of standalone villain here is kind of amusing given that, well ...
This. Happens. Almost. Everywhere.
Even if Bilas' tweet didn't mean to come off that way, that's the way it sounds. Really, it should be clarified so that he's addressing the larger issue in general.
Bilas didn't stop there, however. He actually sent out another tweet (again, Pitt-specific) asking if the school's players were students or employees:
Restricting Cam Johnson's transfer is the same as a non-compete provision in an employment contract. Pitt athletes: students or employees? pic.twitter.com/YQkpDZAA9i— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017
Again, the idea in general may not be a bad one. But by trying to make this specific to the Panthers is where Bilas is wildly wrong. In-conference restrictions are not only allowable, they're commonplace. Right or wrong, that's the widespread environment.
Schools routinely block players from transferring in conference. The ACC doesn't have any such rule but it's pretty standard operating procedure. The idea, really, is that you don't want players giving their new team an advantage against you in head-to-head matchups.
There will undoubtedly be talk about Kevin Stallings previously blocking Sheldon Jeter from coming to Pitt when the pair was at Vanderbilt. But that isn't even remotely the same type of situation since Jeter was going out of conference. Stallings' problem then, it seemed, was that Pitt had talked to Jeter when they shouldn't have. That, in and of itself, is an entirely different issue.
I have no problem with the bigger issue that Bilas wants to raise - removing these kind of transfer restrictions in general. You won't get much argument from me on that even though I do think it opens up some very slippery slopes. In general, though, giving kids more freedom is fine by me. But this idea that this is a new thing and that the Panthers are somehow in uncharted territory here isn't accurate.