Isaac Hamilton, as touched on by Peter Carrera in his excellent article earlier today, is a UTEP recruit expected to have a big impact in the NCAA. Just recently, he asked to be release from his letter of intent from UTEP so he could attend USC.
Under normal circumstances, that would be a bad move both for the player and his reputation. This situation is different, Hamilton’s grandmother is ill and the player would like to spend as time with her as possible before she gets any worse. Hamilton has also said that she would like to able to watch him play in the NCAA and could not do it in UTEP but could do it if he was at USC as she lives near the campus.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, as ESPN is reporting, UTEP coach Tim Floyd has decided not to release him from his letter of intent.
“I’m sorry his grandmother is having health problems,” Floyd said. “But what I’m doing I’m doing for UTEP and for everyone else. The NLI is in place so you can field a team. Young people don’t have to sign a national letter of intent. You can sign a scholarship paper. The policy is in place to protect the institutions after they’ve spent all this money in recruiting and built their schedule around and turned down other players.”
What that means for Hamilton is that if he decides to go to USC anyways, he will have to pay his own way because his scholarship is promised to UTEP. There is also the option to appeal the decision by UTEP, which could turn the decision in Hamilton’s favor. From the Hamilton camp, which includes his father, they are saying that they have not talked to any LA based school and simply want Hamilton to have the chance to play near his grandmother but that nothing has been promised.
As for UTEP, they are more skeptical and believe that Hamilton already has an offer in place from USC, which is less than two miles away from his grandmother’s residence. If that were the case, it would be an issue of tampering and Floyd would be right to be angry.
From an emotional viewpoint though, it is kind of hard to agree with UTEP’s decision. Keeping Hamilton when he doesn’t want to be there is a surefire way for him to have an underwhelming and uninspired season. You have to believe that he will seek to transfer away from UTEP the second he has the chance and really the school will not gain anything by keeping a discontent Hamilton on the roster. While he is a special talent, a hard working, fully committed player would offer more than a star who doesn’t want to be there.
As well, the school should consider how it makes them look for future recruits. Players will remember that UTEP was the school that wouldn’t release Hamilton to be closer to his ailing grandmother. Releasing a player of Hamilton’s caliber is always a tough decision, but in this case keeping him will end up hurting UTEP a lot more than helping them.