This could be an interesting week for Tom Savage in his quest to be a quarterback at somewhere other than Rutgers.
The Cardinal O'Hara High graduate has left Rutgers, but Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano has blocked a number of schools, including Miami and Florida, from contacting him.
On Monday, a committee at Rutgers, headed by three faculty members, is supposed to hear an appeal on the blocked transfers, according to Linda Savage, the quarterback's mother. That is part of a transfer process set up by the NCAA.
Linda Savage said Friday that her son had submitted 25 schools as transfer possibilities and that 17 were approved by Rutgers. Florida State and Michigan also reportedly were denied by Schiano.
"All I know is we weren't expecting any denials," Tom Savage told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I don't want to do anything to hurt Rutgers. When we discussed a list of schools with Coach Schiano, he said he wouldn't let me go to a school that would affect his program. I understand that. I love Rutgers. All of my friends are there. But I also want the ability to have some options."
"He's a good kid," his mother said. "He was on their dean's list."
A starter in his first season in 2009, when he was a freshman all-American, Savage lost his starting job last fall. He has withdrawn from Rutgers and is taking this semester off, taking what is known as a "midsemester exception," which allows him to sit out this semester and next season, becoming eligible for the 2012 season. Savage has said he is not interested in going the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) route, following the path of QBs Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin, who went to Delaware.
Without permission from Rutgers, Savage could not receive a scholarship from another school until he had attended the school for one academic year. The Miami Herald reported that the list of schools approved to contact Savage included Arizona, Marshall, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan.
Linda Savage said the family understood that he would not be allowed to transfer within the Big East, but hadn't expected denials to extend beyond that. This issue has gotten a lot of attention in college football, since the system is set up to allow coaches to leave for a new job without penalty while players are given one-year renewable scholarships and can be asked to leave for performance reasons.
Denying transfer requests is not uncommon. Joe Paterno declined to release quarterback Rob Bolden and he reportedly decided to stay at Penn State.
A source identified as being "close to the Rutgers program" told the Asbury Park Press that the approved list of transfers for Savage includes "schools from every other BCS conference on the list. [The approved list] had Big Ten, Big Twelve, Pac-10, SEC, ACC representation. There are a bunch of BCS top-20 programs on the list that Savage is able to go to. There are other perennial BCS powers on the list, so it's not like [Schiano] handcuffed him that he can't go to here or there. He can go somewhere to compete."
Schiano told the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Savage he is welcome to return to Rutgers, but that isn't the plan.
"It's a great program," Savage's mother said. "It just didn't work out."