Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 19 of 163

18 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Michigan had yet to benefit from the graduate transfer rule before quarterback Jake Rudock, cornerback Wayne Lyons and punter Blake O'Neill all announced they would enroll at U-M for the 2015 season, but the Wolverines had seen it in action. Following the 2013 season, linebacker Josh Furman (Oklahoma State), defensive lineman Richard Ash (Western Michigan) and line- backer Mike Jones (Western Michigan) utilized the NCAA legislation to spend their final season of eligibility elsewhere. After the 2014 season, tight end Keith Heitzman (undecided), tailback Justice Hayes (Southern Miss), quarterback Russell Bellomy (Texas-San Antonio) and. most recently, cornerback Blake Countess (Auburn) also announced they would be graduate transfers, finding new homes and new opportunities. NCAA legislation allowing for a graduate transfer without the penalty of sitting out a year — on the condition that a student-athlete has graduated with a bachelor's degree and will pursue a grad pro- gram his school does not offer (though the latter is murky territory) — existed prior to 2011, but that year quarterback Russell Wilson made it well known when he transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and subsequently led the Badgers to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth. "It's kind of like when the American League went to the DH," for- mer Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr said. "When you think about it, the rule has created great interest. I wasn't in favor of it at first, but when you step back, it really benefits the players, and that is what college athletics is all supposed to be about." Carr admits the system has always favored the coach over the ath- letes, noting the hypocrisy of allowing head coaches and assistants to leave one school for another (usually for more money) without imposing the one-year ban that student-athletes confront when they exit a school for another. "We could leave anytime we want but then we've told these young men that if they do it, you can't play the next year, and we stigmatize the transfer when much of the time there is a very good reason for a student-athlete to seek a move," Carr said. "I'm not advocating for us to waive the rule for every transfer, but the rule in place for graduates has real upside." Former Wolverine safety and current college football analyst Marcus Ray calls the graduate transfer rule "fifth-year free agency" and he is a vocal critic of the policy, but Yahoo Sports columnist Eric Adelson disagrees, seeing its value. "It's not a business decision. It's a life decision," he said. "It's not like they're taking something away from the school they were at. It's something they want for themselves — to be in another environment where they can pursue their dreams. "I think it's good for college athletes to have freedom. In a lot of cases, you have student-athletes that are able to go to another school and get an advanced degree. I'm sure there are pitfalls, but choice is a good thing when it comes to education." 2016 Date Opponent Sept. 3 Hawaii Sept. 10 Central Florida Sept. 17 Colorado Sept. 24 Open Oct. 1 Wisconsin Oct. 8 at Rutgers Oct. 15 Penn State Oct. 22 Illinois (HC) Oct. 29 at Michigan State Nov. 5 Maryland Nov. 12 at Iowa Nov. 19 Indiana Nov. 26 at Ohio State 2017 Date Opponent Sept. 2 vs. Florida* Sept. 9 Cincinnati Sept. 16 Air Force Sept. 23 at Purdue Sept. 30 Open Oct. 7 Michigan State Oct. 14 at Indiana Oct. 21 at Penn State Oct. 28 Rutgers (HC) Nov. 4 Minnesota Nov. 11 at Maryland Nov. 18 at Wisconsin Nov. 25 Ohio State * at Arlington, Texas 2018 Date Opponent Sept. 1 Arkansas Sept. 8 Open Sept. 15 SMU Sept. 22 Nebraska Sept. 29 at Northwestern Oct. 6 Maryland Oct. 13 Wisconsin Oct. 20 at Michigan State Oct. 27 Open Nov. 3 Penn State Nov. 10 at Rutgers Nov. 17 Indiana Nov. 24 at Ohio State 2019 Date Opponent Aug. 31 at Arkansas Sept. 7 Open Sept. 14 Open Sept. 21 at Wisconsin Sept. 28 Open Oct. 5 Iowa Oct. 12 at Illinois Oct. 19 at Penn State Oct. 26 Rutgers Nov. 2 at Maryland Nov. 9 Open Nov. 16 Michigan State Nov. 23 at Indiana Nov. 30 Ohio State FUTURE SCHEDULES Graduate Transfer Rule Is Good For Student-Athletes Quarterback Russell Wilson, who transferred from NC State to Wis- consin, helped popularize the graduate transfer. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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