Former Memphis Tigers forward Austin Nichols is eyeing the University of Virginia as a potential transfer destination, which has led his family to hire a lawyer so that the young man may receive an unconditional release from the university. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported the development on Twitter.
Austin Nichols’ family hired lawyer Don Jackson – in hopes of getting an unconditional release. Virginia school Nichols wants to look at.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) July 14, 2015
Nichols was granted a conditional release from his scholarship last week, the terms of which state that he cannot transfer to any other basketball program in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), in which Memphis plays, or any team that is on Memphis’ schedule. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, who reported the conditional release, also stated on Twitter that Virginia, Providence, Iowa and Tennessee were programs to which Memphis would not release Nichols.
The other four schools I mentioned earlier that Austin Nichols will not be released to are Tennessee, Providence, Iowa and Virginia.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 9, 2015
Just why Nichols is seeking a transfer from Memphis is unknown, as he led the team in scoring last season and was second in rebounding. Memphis head coach Josh Pastner and the administration worked to keep him, but ultimately granted the conditional release.
It’s understandable why the university would not want Nichols to play for either a conference rival or someone the team was set to play that season, but there really doesn’t seem to be any reasoning behind why Virginia would be on the list too. Granted, the Cavaliers defeated the Tigers to reach the Sweet Sixteen in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, so it really sounds like the administration and Pastner are just being arbitrary, or perhaps even bitter about previous losses. Throw in that Nichols will have to sit out a year before suiting up again, per NCAA rules, and it sounds all the more ridiculous.
Campus Sports will update Nichols’ situation as more details are made public.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports