Recruiting flap costs athlete scholarship

“I was devastated,” said Wright, who told the paper. “My family tried to talk to (Alvarez) and get him to step in on my behalf, but he made it seem like it was entirely out of his control. … If (Wisconsin) didn’t want me, that’s fine, but they should have let me know a lot earlier so I could have signed somewhere else. I committed early because I wanted to play it safe, and they repaid me by hanging me out to dry.” Wright’s mother, Cheryl Wright, was also upset by the situation. “I’m fighting back tears now just thinking about it,” she said. “I just encourage other families (with Division I-caliber athletes) to be wary of what universities promise your children.

Wright declined a grey-shirt offer that could have have put him on scholarship at Wisconsin immediately after the 2006 football season. Wisconsin sports information director Justin M. Doherty told the paper, “there is nothing legally binding when it comes to verbal commitments. They are really nothing more than a handshake… Wisconsin has lost recruits in the past that have backed out from their verbal contracts at the last minute.”

In another reneged scholarship, current West Virginia University sophomore running back Steve Slaton made a verbal commitment to the University Maryland as a junior in high school, but the Terrapins later rescinded their offer. “I think (problems that arise because of verbal commitments) may be a bigger issue,” Doherty said. “They may need to be brought up with the NCAA.”