The recent standoff between Sydney Moss and the Florida women’s basketball program exemplifies a problematic double standard in college athletics.
Moss, who recently finished her freshman season with the Gators, informed Amanda Butler and her coaching staff of her intention to transfer from UF earlier this month.
Similar to other players who have recently chosen to leave the program, Moss expressed an interest in removing herself from a sour situation in addition to being closer to home at a new program.
She has a short list of Division I schools that interest her: Kentucky, Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati — programs that would put her closer to her family, which she said was never made a priority during her time at Florida.
“They didn’t talk to my mom the whole season,” Moss said of the UF coaching staff. “They got me down there and then didn’t talk to my mom at all.”
Moss has an extremely close relationship with her mother. You may have heard of her father, NFL star Randy Moss, who has had little interaction with Sydney during her life.
Her mother, Libby Offutt, has always been there.
However, as the situation currently stands, Moss is unable to be where she wants to be, which is gone from UF and close to her mother and the rest of her family.
Butler, according to Moss and others close to the situation, has told Moss she will not let her play for another BCS program, meaning the aforementioned schools are out of the picture at this point.
In a recent phone interview, Moss said she would play for a Division II school if it meant ending an ugly situation that has been brewing in recent weeks.
“If you’re good enough, WNBA and overseas coaches will find you,” she said.
It remains to be seen if Moss would actually go through with those words. She is a polite, well-to-do kid and clearly wants nothing more than for this to all go away.
But it would be a travesty if she settled for a program other than the select few that would put her in the best position to succeed both on and off the court.
Moss has the talent to play anywhere.
As a freshman, as has been written previously, she helped UF reach the WNIT semifinals by leading the team in scoring (19.6), rebounding (9.0), assists (4.0) and field goal percentage (57.1 pct.) during the postseason.
But that is the problem with college athletics.
Moss, who understandably wants to be closer to her family and escape a program that is clearly ill-suited for her, has little choice but to accept the decision of UF's administration unless she files a petition and drags this messy situation out even longer.
She is essentially at the mercy of people she just told she no longer wishes to be associated with. What could possibly go wrong there?
Meanwhile, coaches come and go as they please.
Steve Alford signed a 10-year extension with New Mexico in March and was named UCLA’s coach less than a week later.
John Calipari has skipped from school to school, bringing his No. 1 recruiting classes with him and leaving any unsettled problems (read: violations and probations) in his wake.
These things happen all the time. It is not even surprising when coaches spurn their previous programs for “better” jobs.
However, players like Moss, who want to leave a school for any number of reasons, are often forced to fight tooth and nail to put themselves in a better situation. Sometimes they get what they deserve, but too often they don't.
What’s the problem there?
Since this column was published on June 22, Moss was eventually granted a release to transfer to the BCS programs on her preferred list, excluding Kentucky.
According to Moss, she "most likely" will transfer to Thomas More College, which is less than three hours from her home.