It's impossible to pass judgment when you don't have all the facts. However, the news that Derek Dooley is only granting the conditional release of freshman standout DeAnthony Arnett is one that leaves the Tennessee fanbase with a lot of questions.
We can only operate on what we know which is that DeAnthony Arnett's father is sick, Arnett is seeking to transfer closer to home, and Derek Dooley is currently only offering a conditional release that won't allow Arnett to play for a BCS school on scholarship.
Perhaps we are missing a piece of this puzzle, but what we have here looks like a fairly damning situation for Derek Dooley and the family-oriented program that has been Dooley's major selling point. What we also have is a situation that may be of consequence down the road for Dooley and Tennessee.
Technically, Tennessee has no obligation to release Arnett who will presumably seek a hardship waiver that would allow him to play at his desired destination immediately. However, when the foundation of your program stands on the notion that Derek Dooley was hired to the University of Tennessee to complete some sort of moral reversal after a controversial year in which Lane Kiffin ran roughshod over the established norms, you MUST question this decision.
Obviously, I don't know exactly what Derek Dooley is feeling, but the outside looking in, it appears like we have a coach who feels somehow jaded or slighted by the potential loss of a talented young playmaker. It's unbecoming of what he allegedly stands for.
How can you go into the living rooms of 17 and 18-year old kids and tell them that you will support them and then deny this request?
In terms of wins and losses, Derek Dooley is already on thin ice, but it's generally accepted that Dooley will get a chance to right the proverbial ship. But this isn't about Derek Dooley the coach, it's about Derek Dooley the man.
He's said and done all the right things over the last two years off the field, but the festering stench of hypocrisy is nearly unbearable in regards to this matter.
Losing Arnett is a blow, I understand that, but denying him the chance to be closer to an ailing father? What is there to gain?
Maybe you think that Arnett's priorities shouldn't be to play at the BCS level, but where is it written that because his dad is sick he should have to forfeit his future? Michigan State and Michigan don't appear on Tennessee's upcoming schedule, and it is difficult to see what the issue is here.
Hopefully, the next couple of days provides the answers to all these questions, but right now I can't help but question Dooley's motives. Can you?