Alabama's Knox inspires transfer fracas

You may not have heard of Justin Knox. Just in case (see what I did there?) you haven't, here are the vitals: Knox is a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from Alabama. He averaged just over six points and just under four rebounds per game as a junior in 2009-10. He finished his degree at Alabama in three years, and will be playing his senior year of eligibility as a graduate student. And most importantly, Knox wants to transfer.

Alabama is -- sort of -- letting him do so. Tide officials granted Knox's release, but with three conditional restrictions: Knox isn't allowed to go to another school in the SEC. He's not allowed to go any school on Alabama's 2010-11 schedule. And he's not allowed to go to any school within Alabama's own academic system. Whether or not those restrictions are reasonable probably has to do with which side of the transaction you occupy. For their part, the Knox family are none too happy about it, and they're appealing the school's restrictions for one particular reason: Knox would very much like to play at UAB:

"We have a major problem with that (stipulation) because," Darien Knox said, "if I’m not mistaken, I believe Justin was leaning toward UAB." [...] "Personally, I love Alabama. But this bull they’re putting my nephew through, it’s unnecessary. The kid doesn’t deserve that."

The weird thing about all this? Alabama doesn't play UAB in 2010-11, or ever; the last time the two schools faced off was 1993. Even harder to figure out is why Alabama would be so strict in regulating where a 6-foot-9 forward who couldn't crack the 10 points-five rebounds barrier in his junior year could transfer to. Is it really that big of a deal? Even if Knox transferred to, say, Auburn, it's hard to imagine him hurting the Tide in a major way next season. What's the harm in letting him go to UAB? Or anywhere, really?