Jacob Hernandez files lawsuit to transfer to Texas

  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    In the Ft Worth Star telegram -

    Athlete sues to enforce a transfer request to UT

    By DAMIEN PIERCE

    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    Former TCU sprinter Jacob Hernandez has filed a lawsuit against the school for not granting him a release to transfer to the University of Texas.

    The lawsuit claims TCU has violated its own transfer release policy by refusing Hernandez\'s release and contends the sprinter should be allowed to begin competing at Texas this season.

    Hernandez can transfer to Texas but would have to sit out the 2005-06 season under NCAA rules because TCU hasn\'t given him his release.

    J. Shelby Sharpe, Hernandez\'s attorney, said his client wants to leave the school because TCU is under investigation for serious violations, and he thinks Hernandez should not be forced to sit out another season because of those circumstances.

    \"We contend he walked into a bad situation that he didn\'t cause,\" said Sharpe, whose client was an incoming freshman last year. \"The athletes were told by [then-athletic director Eric Hyman] that there wouldn\'t be any postseason restrictions, and that\'s why Jacob stayed at the school. But the school then banned itself from the NCAA Championships last February. He\'s already lost one year of competing in the NCAA Championships because of TCU, and he shouldn\'t lose a second year because he wants to leave.\'\'

    Hernandez did not return a phone message seeking comment.

    Sharpe filed the lawsuit in Tarrant County district court on Aug. 2.

    The suit alleges that Hernandez, an 800-meter sprinter who was selected Conference USA\'s Freshman Male Athlete of the Year for 2004, was denied his release even though there is nothing in TCU\'s policy against it.

    Hernandez, who if from Magnolia, received permission to talk to Texas and soon requested his release. But his transfer was denied on the basis that, at the time of the request, Texas was ranked in the nation\'s top 15. The school\'s transfer release policy states an athlete is not permitted to transfer to a school with such a lofty ranking.

    However, the suit then states Hernandez tried again when Texas slipped to 17th in the same poll \"a few weeks later.\" It alleges that the school denied it on the basis that TCU only allows another university one transfer request, and Texas had its request.

    Sharpe said the school\'s transfer release policy does not state how many times a school is allowed to pursue a potential transfer and that he and his client were later informed that it was an unwritten policy.

    TCU athletic director Danny Morrison said the school has followed its policy.

    \"We believe we have fully complied with our policy regarding the requested transfer and have referred it to our legal council,\" Morrison said.

    Hernandez has been seeking a transfer from TCU\'s track team since the school was banned from the 2004-05 NCAA Track and Field Championships because of serious violations within the program.

    Former TCU coach Monte Stratton, who originally recruited Hernandez, was fired, and associate coach Brad Bowman resigned in September because of serious improprieties within the program. The Star-Telegram reported Stratton provided airfare and living expenses to international athletes and recruits.

    Hernandez competed with the Horned Frogs during the 2004-05 season but continued talks with coach Daryl Anderson about leaving the program because the school could be facing more penalties from the ongoing NCAA investigation.

    Hernandez is seeking attorneys\' fees and costs with his release.
  • Trenton Hall
    Site Admin
    sfamiler
    I am writing to the TCU AD to let him know my feelings on the subject. Jacob is a great guy and deserves a chance to shine at the school of his choosing. Far too often, coaches and ADs forget that they are in their position to help the athletes they are in charge of. Many times the coaches seem more interested in their own glory instead of looking out for the best interest of their own athletes. TCU is in a bad spot right now. They need to do what is best for their athletes, rebuild, and move on.

    Trenton
  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    There\'s even a little more to this story.

    TCU self imposed that they would not compete in regs or NCAA\'s this last year. That\'s not a sanction unless you have someone who quaifies so I doubt the NCAA will accept just that. There are probably more sanctions coming.

    The deal is that Jacob was probably the only guy on the team who would have qualified. I figured he would redshirt so he\'d have 4 full years to run at NCAA\'s. from what I hear, the TCU coach found out he was looking at transferring so he refused to redshirt him. Since they weren\'t going to regs not redshirting Jacon onlyhurt him and didn\'t help the school much at all.

    I think that just created some animosity between him and the team and now this is just making things worse. They punished him by not redshirting and made him blow a year and now they are trying to make him lose another year.
  • Site Admin
    Aggietom
    Is there actual redshirt paperwork to be filed, or could Jacob have sat? If he sits, he wouldn\'t have competed in any NCAA-sanctioned meets and could have used his redshirt year.

    If I were him, I would sue for the year and apply for some sort of technical redshirt year. The NCAA has these things for athletes that are put in odd situations.

    Also, if he is stuck at TCU, why doesn\'t he just refuse to run? They will not renew his scholarship. I think that is a form of release in it\'s own right, isn\'t it? I know there are a few people out there with NCAA experience. What is the rule here? Everything is 1 year renewable...I know that much.
  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    He has already left TCU. The release is just permission from TCU to run this year. Without it he will have to sit out one year at Texas.

    As for redshirting, I don\'t know but I don\'t think there is any paperwork involved. It is just a matter of whether he competes or not but I might be wrong.

    However, he signed a LOI which is a binding contract. I am sure he was obligated to run if the coaches told him to. If he didn\'t I guess all they cold have done is kick him out of school and/or send him a bill for his tuition and room/board. Of course then they also wouldn\'t have given him a release either.
  • Jesse Parker
    Coach
    Insider
    CoachParker Edited
    Wow! I\'ll try to put some light on the situation and answer some of your questions about rules. Let me know if anything is unclear.


    sfamiler said, \"Far too often, coaches and ADs forget that they are in their position to help the athletes they are in charge of. Many times the coaches seem more interested in their own glory instead of looking out for the best interest of their own athletes.\"

    You are right on Trenton! From the looks of things Jacob has every right to be released and he should win his lawsuit, however, TCU should have given him his release the minute he asked for it. As coaches, we need to do what is in the athletes best interest, no matter what.


    CFrunnersdad, \"The deal is that Jacob was probably the only guy on the team who would have qualified.\"

    TCU would have had more than just Jacob qualify. Delwayne Delaney ran 10.37 in the 100m dash.
    Cleavon Dillon ran 10.20 and jumped over 25\' 7.\"
    Kip Kangogo ran 3:43 and 13:47.
    Jackson Langat ran 1:46.
    Bradley Reed ran 10.32.
    Their 4x400 ran 3:05.
    Brett Wilson ran 46.33.
    So they had several other guys that could have qualified.


    Aggietom said, \"Is there actual redshirt paperwork to be filed, or could Jacob have sat? If he sits, he wouldn\'t have competed in any NCAA-sanctioned meets and could have used his redshirt year.\"

    Their is no official paperwork, other than their compliance cordinator declaring him eligible to compete. Refusing to compete opens up a whole other can of worms.


    Aggietom said, \"If I were him, I would sue for the year and apply for some sort of technical redshirt year. The NCAA has these things for athletes that are put in odd situations.\"

    This is an option, and I\'m sure that UT (if he is allowed to compete for them) will apply for a waiver. However, I doubt it would get approved since TCU has the right to run whatever athletes they wanted to. This is tied into the NLI and Grant-and-Aid that he signed. It is a possibility he could get that year back, but I doubt it.


    Aggietom said, \"Also, if he is stuck at TCU, why doesn\'t he just refuse to run? They will not renew his scholarship. I think that is a form of release in it\'s own right, isn\'t it?\"

    It is not quite that simple. If he signed his Grant-in-Aid for the following year then he would have to pay back his scholarship if he refused to run. Also, just because your scholarship doesn\'t get renewed doesn\'t mean he is released. TCU still owns the \'rights\' to him until his release is granted or until he sits out a year in residence. Meaning, he would have to attend UT for 1 full year as a full-time student before he could compete for them.


    CFrunnersdad said, \"I don\'t know but I don\'t think there is any paperwork involved. It is just a matter of whether he competes or not but I might be wrong.\"

    You\'re right!


    CFrunnersdad said, \"However, he signed a LOI which is a binding contract. I am sure he was obligated to run if the coaches told him to. If he didn\'t I guess all they cold have done is kick him out of school and/or send him a bill for his tuition and room/board.\"

    Right again, the NLI (not LOI) is a binding contract. By signing it he states that he will \'do what he is told\' as long as it does not put himself or another athlete at a physical risk.


    CFrunnersdad said, \"If he didn\'t I guess all they cold have done is kick him out of school and/or send him a bill for his tuition and room/board. Of course then they also wouldn\'t have given him a release either.\"

    Once again you are right. If Jacob refused to run TCU could have sued him for the amount of his scholarship (and with the cost of TCU that is not a viable option). This would also have given them grounds to not grant a release.


    From what I gather in the article, I don\'t understand why TCU doesn\'t grant him a release. Jacob fullfilled his obligation to the university and given their situation with the possible sanctions, he would have every right to get out of there, especially if he didn\'t cause the problems (which it looks like he didn\'t). Jacob\'s best option now is to go to UT, enroll full-time and be a student this Fall taking as many hours towards his degree that he can handle. If he has a good lawyer they should be able to get this all cleared up by January and he\'ll be able to compete for UT next indoor and outdoor season. If he does not win his lawsuit then at worst he would just be a student at UT for this year (count it as a redshirt year) then he\'ll be able to compete beginning the Fall of 2006. He would then have 3 years to compete for UT.

    Does all this make sense?
  • Site Admin
    Aggietom
    Yeah...I figured there was a way the NCAA could \"own\" the athletes like that. I love the restrictions they put on athletes and then they act holier than thou when talking about \"student-athlete\". It irritates the crap out of me.

    I feel sorry for Langat (Lagat?). Wasn\'t he a senior?
  • Jesse Parker
    Coach
    Insider
    CoachParker
    Well, they have these rules in place to protect both student-athletes and universities from coaches who recruit other collegiate athletes and try to get them to transfer. All these rules are needed for everything to remain fair and even. However, like all rules in our society, they are not perfect. This just happens to be one instance were a university is high on their own power. This is not what the rule was put in place for.
  • User
    Steve_Stifler
    CP...would you have granted Adrian Ray, Raul Villareal, Randy Flach or Adam Wooten a release in the same situation. Before you say yes, put yourself in their shoes...they are trying to rebuild a program from scratch and Jacob (like those mentioned above) was one of the best on their team and an NCAA Qualifier. Plus, there could be behind the scenes information that none of us are privy to that may show TCU is justified in what they are doing. Who knows??
  • Jesse Parker
    Coach
    Insider
    CoachParker
    I agree. We don\'t know what is going on behind the scenes. I\'ll be the first to admit that what gets published in the media is only half the story. My dad always said that it is a thin board that only has two side. I have seen situations were an athletes says one thing to the coaching staff and they seem to have things worked out, then all of a sudden they are trying to transfer. But James Thomas was the jumps coach here at SHSU until December. He is now the jumps coach at TCU. I talked to him about Jacob several months ago because I had been hearing rumors that he was going to leave. From what JT told me at that time I was under the impression that Jacob did not feel comfortable at TCU and that it wasn\'t what he was expecting. He told me the Jacob was a great kid, extremely hardworking, and was a pleasure to have on the team. However, the sanctions were fustrating a lot of the athletes because they were not sure what was going to happen. The impression he gave me was that Jacob was going to transfer after this past year. So something must have happened between now and then (this was last April).

    As for our athletes, I do not want anyone at SHSU that doesn\'t want to be here. It\'s nothing personal, but I would rather have 10 average guys that are completed devoted to our program than 10 talented athletes who don\'t want to be here.

    I agree, we are only seeing one side of the story. But from what we see, I can\'t imagine why they haven\'t granted him a release.
  • Chris Schrader
    Coach
    chrisschrader
    As for our athletes, I do not want anyone at SHSU that doesn\'t want to be here. It\'s nothing personal, but I would rather have 10 average guys that are completed devoted to our program than 10 talented athletes who don\'t want to be here.
    Jesse
    A great Coach who I respect and admire once told me if someone wants to leave we grant them an unconditional release meaning they can compete the next season even in the same conference.
    THE STATEMENT THIS COACH WAS MAKING WAS THIS
    If you depend on any one athlete to affect your program thenj you should not be coaching.
    I like your philosopy
  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    But the truth is...they\'ve lost him anyway. He\'s already not going back to TCU this fall. All they are doing now is being spiteful.

    I understand that some school would not want a runner to go and immediately be available to run for a conference foe...especially if the school has dome everything right. But that\'s not the case here on either point.
  • Chris Schrader
    Coach
    chrisschrader
    Texas is a right to work state. You could not restrict anyone from seeking employment elsewhere. Its a damn shame that the NCAA is so backwards when it is trying to act pregressive.
    If he gave them his pound of flesh for 1 year and decides its not for him there should be no animosity except the coach wishing him the best at his next school
  • User
    GoPre
    Another point to this situation that may not be coming out is the likelyhood that Texas may have illegally talked to Jacob. Coach Thornton seems to be pretty good at getting top quality transfers...Trey Hardee.

    Peace
  • Site Admin
    Aggietom
    Both are realistic scenarios. I\'m sure the only ones who know the truth are the UT and TCU coaches and J Hernandez.
  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    \"Another point to this situation that may not be coming out is the likelyhood that Texas may have illegally talked to Jacob. Coach Thornton seems to be pretty good at getting top quality transfers...Trey Hardee.\"

    Not so sure \"Likelihood\" is the right word here. Maybe it\'s a possibility but it\'s not \"likely\"

    Jacob contacted Texas, Texas can\'t talk to Jacob without a release and he got one as mentioned in the article. TCU gave Texas permission to talk to Jacob. There is nothing illegal about that. Several other schools also got permission to talk to him. He actually visited OU, UH and I\'ve been told A&M so he had to get releases for those schools also.

    A release to talk to a school is completely different than a release to transfer but since TCU gave Texas a release to talk to him there was nothing illegal going on.
  • Michael Duncan
    User
    CFrunnersdad
    It doesn\'t cost much to file a lawsuit and get the story in all the papers. This is most likely a PR thing to get them to change their minds. It\'s certainly making them look bad to future recruits.
  • MIKE JEHAK
    User
    MIKEJEHAK
    Why would a future recruit who WANTS to go somewhere be concerned with their policy of being released????

    Methinks there is more to the story than we all know, but I could be wrong.