Bolden Transfer Scenarios
Rob Bolden Penn State
FightOnState.com
Posted Jan 5, 2011


Nittany Lion rookie could face some stiff penalties depending on when he would leave Penn State. The Letter of Intent he signed last February could come into play.

You've probably heard by now that Penn State freshman quarterback Rob Bolden would like to transfer to another school. And you've probably heard that Nittany Lion coach Joe Paterno had declined to release Bolden from his scholarship.

What you may not realize is that there is another key document that may come into play as this drama continues to unfold -- the National Letter of Intent Bolden signed with Penn State last February.

And should he choose to do so, Paterno can use it to play serious hardball.

The LOI binds Bolden to PSU for one full academic year, or until the end of the spring 2011 semester. If he leaves school before then without being released from the LOI, he faces a severe penalty if he opts to transfer to another FBS school with the intention of playing football.

According to the NCAA, the punishment for breaking an LOI without a complete release from the school with which it was signed is as follows:

“If you do not attend the institution with which you signed, or if you do not fulfill the terms of the National Letter of Intent, the basic penalty is that you lose one season of competition in all sports and must serve one year in residence at your next National Letter of Intent institution.”

In short, if Bolden were to leave PSU before the end of the spring semester without being released from his LOI, he would be forced to sit out one year (the so-called “year in residence”) at his next FBS school AND he would lose a year of eligibility, meaning when he returned to action in the 2012 season he would only have two years remaining.

Since Bolden played as a true freshman at Penn State, he still has a redshirt available. With that in mind, here are the scenarios that can unfold here. Any transfer scenarios assume he lands at another FBS school.

A). Bolden stays at Penn State. In this case he has four years to complete three seasons of eligibility.

B). Bolden leaves Penn State now without being released from his LOI and scholarship. In this case he must serve a “year in residence” at his new school before being eligible to play. Beginning in 2012, he will have two years to complete two years of eligibility (his redshirt having been spent during the year in residence). He must pay his own way during his year in residence and then can go on scholarship.

C). Bolden leaves Penn State now with being released from his LOI and scholarship. In this case he must serve a year in residence at his new school before being eligible to play. Beginning in 2012, he will have three years to complete three seasons of eligibility. He is eligible to be on scholarship as soon as he arrives at his new school.

D). Bolden leaves Penn State after the spring semester (and after his LOI has expired) without being released from his scholarship. In this case he must serve a year in residence at his new school before being eligible to play. Beginning in 2012, he will have three years to complete three seasons of eligibility. He must pay his own way during his year in residence and then can go on scholarship.

E). Bolden leaves Penn State after the spring semester with being released from his scholarship. Same as case “C” above.

Note that if Bolden is not released from his LOI and/or scholarship, there are appeals processes available to him.

For the scholarship, there is technically no “release,” but rather a “permission-to-contact” letter that allows an athlete to contact other schools. If Penn State declines to provide this, Bolden can request an appeal hearing from “a panel of individuals” from Penn State “who are not involved in athletics,” according to the NCAA.

For the LOI, an appeal may be made to the National Letter of Intent Policy & Review Committee, but it usually only grants relief when extenuating circumstances (illness, death of a parent, financial hardship, etc.) come into play.


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