Collette’s appeal denied after hearing, former Aggie basketball player not released

Utah head coach Tim Duryea directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

LOGAN – David Collette’s appeal on the USU Athletic Department’s decision to not release the former Aggie basketball player was denied after a hearing Tuesday afternoon. A USU committee upheld the previous decision that prevents the sophomore forward from being able to receive any athletic aid from another institution until after fall 2016. Collette can enroll at another university, but must not have contact or be contacted by an athletic program from another institution.

The sophomore forward entered Duryea’s office two days before the start of the 2015 basketball season and informed his coach he was planning on transferring somewhere else. Collette had started his freshman year and was expected to continue to be one of the team’s major contributors.

“Utah State University has followed all applicable NCAA procedures and applied consistent internal practices in declining the request for release,” USU Athletics said in a statement. “David Collette chose to leave Utah State two days prior to its season opening contest, which hamstrung the team in terms of recruiting a new player to that position or even practicing with other players for that position. The timing of David’s decision to leave the team is the reason Utah State is handling his release this way.”

Duryea discussed the appeal in a press conference Tuesday morning, before the hearing took place.

“The way our team and staff views it, it’s already behind us,” Duryea said. “Regardless of when the hearing is, regardless of what happens in the hearing, as a program, players and coaches, it’s well behind us. I don’t think what happens today will affect us inside the program whatsoever.”

The decision to block the transfer caught the attention of national media and generated controversy with a mix of opinions. Despite some negative attention, Duryea said Tuesday morning that if the situation were to happen again, it would be handled the same way.

“I think as an administration and as a basketball program we are very unified in feeling that it is the right decision,” he said. “If you deal with us fairly and in a timely manner then we’re going to do everything we can to help accommodate you, but we don’t think we were dealt fairly with in this situation.”

According to a USU release the day of the departure, Duryea was surprised at the transfer and suggested other schools may have been “poaching” his player.

“We’re not a junior college,” he added Tuesday. “We’re not a feeder program, we don’t view ourselves that way and we don’t want to be dealt with that way.”

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