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Alex Oriakhi Granted Release From UConn, Conflicting Reports On Transfer Restrictions

Yesterday, Eagle Action's Eric Hoffses reported that UConn will not allow Alex Oriakhi to transfer to Boston College, but late last night The Hartford Courant put out a conflicting report that stated the school had placed no restrictions on Oriakhi's future destination.

His release from UConn has no restrictions, according to a school official. He is free to go anywhere that league rules allow. The Big East Conference does not allow transfers within the league.

After being granted his release, the 6-foot-9 big man instantly became one of the most sought after college hoops free agents on the market. Over a dozen programs have reportedly reached out to recruit Oriakhi, including Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

While apparently there was interest from both sides, with college basketball blue bloods like Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Missouri all in the mix now, I doubt Steve Donahue and Boston College would have landed the big man. Block or no block. Still it's fun to stoke the flames of the BC-UConn cold war a little with news of the school blocking a transfer to places like BC and Duke.

Normally, Oriakhi would have to sit out a year after transferring to another school, but that rule may not apply in this case. Since UConn is currently ineligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament due to a poor academic track record, Oriakhi is free to play for another program next year. Though UConn has filed a new appeal and if the Huskies are allowed to participate in next year's Tournament, Oriakhi would have to sit out next season.

If the second appeal doesn't overturn the NCAA's ruling, UConn's last hope of becoming eligible for next year's Tournament is for the NCAA to decide to change the timetable for APR data collection.

Right now, 2013 eligibility is based off a four-year rolling average and a two-year average from 2009-10 and 2010-11. The NCAA committee on academic performance met in February and discussed shifting the data to 2010-11 and 2011-12. The committee could make a decision on the issue when it meets from April 23-25.

Becoming re-eligible for the 2013 Tournament on a technicality is a joke, but whatever. Either way, I'm not sure it really even matters whether UConn is eligible for postseason play or not. Oriakhi is intent on transferring whether the Huskies are eligible or not, while Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond will almost certainly enter the NBA Draft. Should UConn remain ineligible for the NCAAs next season, more departures could follow.

Even if BC doesn't land Oriakhi, the dumpster fire down in Storrs can only be a good thing for Donahue and the Eagles when it comes to regional recruiting (now if we could just get that Harvard monkey off our backs!). And if restrictions were placed on Oriakhi behind the scenes and word gets out -- a la the Randy Edsall-Danny O'Brien transfer fiasco -- even better.

A program with as many run-ins with the NCAA over the years shouldn't have any say in where a player transfers in this case.