basketball Edit

Wisconsin's Greg Gard expresses frustration in Micah Potter situation

MADISON -- To say Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard is not pleased with the NCAA's decision to reject Micah Potter's eligibility waver to play immediately is perhaps the understatement of the year.

After Wisconsin's 88-70 win over Green Bay on Thursday evening, Gard took the podium inside the Kohl Center media room. A couple of questions were centered towards the reaction of the decision coming down earlier in the day after a telephone hearing with the NCAA Committee for Legislative Relief. has transcribed a couple of those questions and the head coach's subsequent answers as seen below:

Q: Greg, I know you addressed this ad nauseam, and I know you addressed this on your pregame radio show, but can you at least summarize a little bit of your frustration but also at least can you move on now knowing that you know when the end date is for certain?

"Well, I mean, the level of frustration has gone beyond anything I have ever experienced in almost 30 years of coaching. Really I look back over 30 years, the reason why I got into this profession was to try to help young people and make their experiences and their lives better. Unfortunately, during this scenario as this has played out since June, we haven't done a good job as membership and as the organization that kind of heads that membership in the NCAA of making a student-athlete's experience better.

"Micah now will have sat, by the time he plays in mid-December, 47 games -- 35 last year at Ohio State that he did not participate in, 12 here if you count our two preseason [games], Iowa State scrimmage and La Crosse exhibition game. That's 21 months and three semesters. You find somewhere else that that has happened. This is unprecedented. I have a hard time thinking that we stand up here, and like I said, we did all we could do from an institution standpoint. [Associate Athletic Director for Compliance & Sr. Woman Administrator] Katie Smith, Coach Alvarez, our administration, our compliance, did everything we could do. Micah did everything he could do.

"I'm not going to go through the details of the play-by-play of the whole thing, but aren't we as a membership in the business of the human business -- as I'll take one of the NCAA's terms -- of trying to make the experiences of the student-athletes better. And the problem is with all of my frustration, and everybody's frustration, everybody's work that was put into this, that is irrelevant. The one that gets penalized in this the most is Micah Potter, and that's completely unfair to be able to have to sit this much and to do the things he did. He did it the right way. He stayed at Ohio State to try to finish, stay on track to graduate. He wanted to stay because his brother, Noah, was coming on the football team, and he didn't want to make life rough for him coming in as a freshman when he was going to be there in January of last year.

"But he found out it wasn't going to work, so he had to make a change. Really what he didn't want to do, and he did things the right way, and that's what's so frustrating in all the things that go on in the NCAA today and across college athletics. You see so many negative things. Micah Potter is the quintessential student-athlete. He's exactly what the NCAA should want representing them as student-athletes. Instead of using that as a positive message to the rest of the student-athletes, you took one of your best student-athletes in the country and penalized him further than everybody else. He's got a teammate that played games last year that's playing now at another institution. We played against a guy that played all of last year.

"Like I said, I was hoping common sense would prevail in this. Unfortunately, it didn't, and again, I just don't understand when we're in the business of trying to making these student-athletes' experiences better, his clock is ticking. The rest of us will go on, and the people that are in those positions in that committee, the NCAA staff, they obviously don't have their boots on the ground and understand the impact that this has on a young man and on his life and on his future.

"Credit to Micah because he's been the one that -- I was so irate this afternoon -- and Micah was the one that took the news better than anybody. Better than me, than our administration, our compliance. I just feel like it was such an injustice and I thought everything was done the right way. Like I said, it's unfortunate. It's really a shame. It's a shame. Regardless if he makes us a better team, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with this kid's experience that's been yanked away from him, and he's getting over-penalized than any other transfer."

Q: Greg, you said earlier in the thought process that you guys were given a rationale and that you disagreed with it. Can you share what that was specifically now?

"They've stuck to their complete thing from the beginning that there wasn't mitigating circumstances. I don't know, when you're told that you need to distance yourself from the program, that's not mitigating? I mean there's a lot of ways that coaches can send messages that you're not wanted here anymore or in a program.

"He was a kid that grew up in Ohio...That's the other thing. Ohio State supported it, the Big Ten supported it, obviously we had the support behind it. You got everybody? Nobody resisting this? Nobody resisting this on the outside?"

Update, Nov. 22: Updated quotes for answer to second question: " I mean there's a lot of ways that coaches can send messages that you're not wanted here anymore or in a program." (not any program, as previously read).