As Purdue faces some mild scrutiny over its refusal to cover transferring big man Sandi Marcius' expenses for the two summer school classes he'll need to graduate, Matt Painter told his program's side Tuesday during a teleconference with media members.
The Boilermaker coach, who says he granted Marcius a "blanket" release from his scholarship (i.e. without restrictions) after the big man asked out, said that Purdue will not be covering the costs for Marcius' final two classes, classes the outgoing senior knew he'd need months ago, as he indicated during a February interview when asked about his plans following the season.
Even after his release was granted, the door has not been entirely closed for Marcius to return, GoldandBlack.com has learned.
But assuming he does leave - which is overwhelmingly likely, especially now - he'd be leaving Purdue as a fifth-year transfer. Such players, upon graduation, may enroll at another school to use their final season of eligibility, without having to sit out, provided the second school can offer a graduate program the first one could not.
So in order to play elsewhere, Marcius must finish his building construction management degree at Purdue. To do that, he must finish these final two classes, which would cost an estimated $7,000.
"Sandi voluntarily withdrew from our team," Painter said. "Now he wants us to pay for his school after the fact and that's just something that we haven't done.
"As a head coach, and this is something Morgan (Burke) talked to me about when he interviewed me: 'You're in charge of your roster.' Nobody can tell me who's on my roster and who is not on my roster, and Morgan's in charge of the grant-in-aid. I wish (Marcius) nothing but the best. I gave him a blanket release so that he can play anywhere else that he wants. We were committed to paying for his school this summer if he was with us, and we were committed to paying for his fifth year of school next year, which would have been grad school, if he was with us. We committed to Sandi from Day 1 and have paid for all of his schooling while he's been with us. Now he's decided to leave our program, and he's not with us and he voluntarily did that. No one told him he had to leave. We wanted him to stay. That was the decision that he made."
The Post-Tribune in Northwest Indiana has cited a source close to Marcius accusing Purdue of "hard-balling" the big man, according to its reports on Twitter.
Most recently, an apparent contradiction was brought to light by the source in Purdue's handling of John Hart, the guard who left as a fifth-year transfer himself, same as Marcius will.
Purdue did pay for Hart's summer school, the coach saying it was simply the carrying out of a mutually agreed upon arrangement.
"John Hart's situation was different. He did not voluntarily leave. We met the spring before with his parents and really sat down and mapped out a couple of different scenarios for him going forward," Painter said. "We had talked about (a fifth-year transfer) being a possible scenario for him. They were very forthcoming and upfront in talking about where he was in our program, where I saw him, and what his options were. We had talked about that before and we had a mutually agreed situation. John did not voluntarily leave our team and he did not quit our team. We came together and talked about it well in advance and communicated it and said, 'If this is the scenario, then we will help you along.' And we paid for it financially because it was mutually agreed (upon)."
Marcius asked Painter for his release shortly after the conclusion of the Boilermakers' season, which he closed strong after a slow beginning to the season, a trend during his career in West Lafayette.
The junior was one of Purdue's most important players in the final dozen games or so of the season.
Painter said he wanted Marcius back, discussing things with him multiple times to try to encourage him to stay.
Now that the parting of ways between Purdue and Marcius' camp has grown acrimonious, the Boilermaker coach isn't revising history.
Marcius' playing time has been, and would continue to be, impacted by the presence of budding standout A.J. Hammons, who was named to the Big Ten's All-Freshman team and is clearly one of college basketball's most promising young big men.
"(Marcius) was a little frustrated by that and I understand that. I totally understand that as a guy who played once," Painter said. "We really expected those guys to be a tandem for us next year, but he wasn't happy and he expressed that. … I talked to him two or three times and really expressed that I wanted him to stay, but he didn't, so we gave him his release and wish him nothing but the best. He is a great guy and hopefully he finds a home and is happier at his next school."
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