I wrote quite a bit on what I thought of the Cam Johnson situation earlier this week so I don't want to rehash much here. But the news that dropped on Thursday that he will receive a full and immediate release to North Carolina was notable.
We all know the story by now. Cam had several significant offers from major programs and, as such, it became big news when he decided he wanted to transfer inside of the conference to play at North Carolina. Pitt said that was fine, but he would need to sit out a year. Cam wasn't happy with that and after a battle that played out in the media, Pitt eventually released him to allow him to play this season.
Part of me is a little annoyed because Pitt was held to a different standard than other schools who have placed the same restrictions for years without so much of a whimper. Part of me is also kind of relieved this entire mess is over. Regardless of how you feel Pitt should have handled this, I think we can all agree that the longer it went, the bigger the distraction it was. Both sides needed to move on and this, if nothing else, allows them to do that.
As I've said already, if the idea is that we should restrict college players from transferring out of conference, I can live with that. I think there are reasons to object but if everyone is playing by the same rules, it's less of a problem for me. My point of contention is that all schools should be required to do that and not only Pitt just simply because this was a high-profile case that the national media decided was worth their attention as opposed to the gaggle of transfer restrictions that are constantly placed and go unnoticed. If all schools don't play by the same rules, then Pitt is at a disadvantage.
Case in point - Pitt allowed Cam to play for North Carolina where he could be for the next two seasons. That obviously hurts Pitt in a head to head matchup because they not only lost their best player but he joins an already strong team they are trying to defeat. Now say, for example, a star at another ACC school decides he wants to transfer to Pitt but they tell him to kick rocks and go out of conference. Pitt could potentially lose out on that player simply because a school doesn't want to play by the same rules.
How often does that scenario happen? Beats me. But the idea that Pitt, or anyone, has to play by different rules simply because their cases are more in the national spotlight is wholly unreasonable.