SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Dan Wolken breaks down the game of the former Crimson Tide quarterback and explains why Oklahoma is a perfect match.
A few hours after adding a graduate transfer quarterback, Oklahoma lost one — and then it lost again in the court of public opinion.
Austin Kendall will be immediately eligible at West Virginia for the 2019 season as a graduate transfer — but only after Oklahoma agreed late this afternoon to grant a waiver, according to a person with knowledge of the school’s decision-making process.
The person, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the school initially was reluctant to grant the waiver, because Kendall was transferring within the Big 12 and did not want to set a precedent on intra-conference transfers. ESPN reported the situation Wednesday morning, creating instant backlash. Hours later, the school relented.
Earlier today, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts announced he would transfer to Oklahoma, immediately becoming the front-runner to succeed Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray as the leader of the Sooners’ powerful offense.
Kendall, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, was the backup to Murray last season. He entered the NCAA’s transfer portal last week, signaling his intent to explore his options, and visited Auburn on Monday before settling on West Virginia. Hurts visited Oklahoma on Sunday.
Under the NCAA’s new transfer rules, Kendall was free to transfer to any school. But graduate transfers are required to get a waiver from their former school to be immediately eligible. It has routinely been seen as a formality. But according to the person with knowledge of the process, Oklahoma officials did not want to set a precedent in allowing a player to be immediately eligible at another Big 12 school — effectively blocking the move. But by Wednesday afternoon, they’d relented.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ George Schroeder on Twitter @GeorgeSchroeder.