Isaac Hamilton's transfer request denied by UTEP's Tim Floyd
Hamilton, a five-star recruit ranked No. 14 according to Rivals, surprised most of the nation in November of 2012 when he picked the Miners over schools like Arizona, Baylor and UCLA. But he has had a change of heart, and there might be a chance he won't play for the Miners at all.
The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between the recruit and the university. In signing a National Letter of Intent, the student-athlete agrees to attend the institution for at least one academic year, and the school will provide financial aid for one academic year.
The 6'4 guard is the biggest recruit Floyd has hooked since taking over as UTEP coach in 2010. Floyd refused to release Hamilton from his National Letter of Intent, citing the excitement surrounding a player of his caliber. Floyd told the El Paso Times that Hamilton has two options: not sign a National Letter of Intent in the first place or file an appeal.
"We have made our schedule based on having Isaac. People have bought season tickets based on our having Isaac. It's too late. He can appeal and we'll wait to see what happens. If he is allowed out, we might as well not even have letters of intent."
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Hamilton wants to transfer closer to his home in Los Angeles to be closer to his grandmother who has fallen ill, and wishes to play for the USC Trojans.
Greg Hamilton, Isaac's father, told ESPN's Andy Katz that his wife's mother is dealing with a heart condition, and that the Hamiltons live less than two miles from campus.
"Our reasons for opting out are for [my wife] Karen's mom to see him play since she's dealing with sickness [a heart condition]. She watched him play in high school but wanted to watch him in college."
Floyd coached the Trojans from 2005 to 2009, but resigned after the 2009 season amid improper benefits surrounding O.J. Mayo. After an internal investigation into the matter, USC vacated its 21 wins from the 2007-2008 season and placed a one-year postseason ban on itself for the 2009-10 season.
As Katz reported, Floyd feels that he is protecting the school's monetary investment it has made into Hamilton.
"I'm sorry his grandmother is having health problems," Floyd said. "But what I'm doing I'm doing for UTEP and for everyone else. The NLI is in place so you can field a team. Young people don't have to sign a national letter of intent. You can sign a scholarship paper. The policy is in place to protect the institutions after they've spent all this money in recruiting and built their schedule around and turned down other players."
All the posturing might be for a lost cause, however, as CBS Sports reported that a source close to the situation doesn't expect Hamilton to play for UTEP, no matter the verdict of the appeal. That situation could end up being a PR nightmare, similar to the affair that St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli went through when he refused to let Todd O'Brien transfer.
Also interesting, if Hamilton ends up playing for USC, is the possibility of a meeting between the two schools this season. Although the bracket hasn't been announced, both the Trojans and the Miners are playing in the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis in November.
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