Russell Wilson would not be eligible to play this season for Wisconsin -- and indeed might never have left baseball for this opportunity -- if not for an NCAA rule that allows players to transfer and immediately compete if they have already graduated from their original school.
So, yeah, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is a fan of the rule.
“This really helps a kid out in this situation,” he said.
But Bielema also has been on the other end of the rule this summer, as senior running back Zach Brown used the provision to transfer to Pittsburgh. Bielema said he didn't want to see Brown go but helped him find a new school.
“I called every program he wanted me to call,” he said, mentioning Miami, Pitt and Miami of Ohio. "If that’s what Zach wanted, that's what I did."
Wilson was only placed in this predicament because NC State coach Tom O'Brien told him not to come back if he didn't abandon baseball in the summer. O'Brien already had another quarterback, Mike Glennon, who had graduated in three years and was free to use the transfer rule.
The SEC will no longer accept graduate transfers who have only one year of eligibility left after Oct. 1. The league got a black eye when Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli used the rule to play right away for Ole Miss after getting kicked off the Ducks for off-the-field problems.
SEC presidents also took steps this summer to curb oversigning, a practice that Big Ten officials deplored. So that and the new graduate transfer restriction led to a good line by Bielema on Tuesday.
"I'm glad the SEC is now taking such a leading role in NCAA proposals," he said. "That’s a very entertaining thing for me to watch.”