Boys Basketball

App State responds to criticism over Devonte Graham

Posted September 27, 2013

Devonte Graham (4) with the inside move. Wakefield hosts Broughton Friday night January 18, 2013. Broughton wins game 53 to 41. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

Appalachian State University is standing by its decision to decline Broughton High School graduate Devonte Graham's request for a release.

Graham, a member of the Class of 2013, signed a National Letter of Intent with Appalachian State last November.

Since signing with the school, Graham received interest from a number of other colleges and requested a release from his binding commitment to Appalachian State.

The school has declined that request and many people have faulted the university.

"We take particular exception to the unsubstantiated and irresponsible opinion of some media members that we are holding a student-athletes 'hostage,'" the school said in a written release. "With his family's blessing and support, Devonte Graham willingly and excitedly chose to sign a National Letter of Intent with Appalachian State last November after having the opportunity to be recruited by 351 NCAA Division I programs."

Graham made a verbal commitment to Appalachian State in September 2012, then signed his Letter of Intent in November 2012, all prior to the high school basketball season.

Over the course of his senior year, Graham led Broughton to the Cap 8 4-A Conference regular season and tournament titles, an N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A Eastern Regional Championship, and a 4-A state runner-up finish. Appalachian State Appalachian State statement on Devonte Graham

"As our coaching staff fully expected, Devonte had a terrific senior season last winter and, accordingly, drew the interest of programs from what are widely recognized as 'power conferences,'" Appalachian State's statement read.

Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent, other programs are not allowed to contact the athlete directly or through people who represent the athlete. According to the release, Appalachian State believes this happened in the case of Graham.

"Due to our concerns that these rules were not followed and the fact that we had turned away all other potential student-athletes that could have capably filled his spot on the roster, we denied his request for a release from his binding letter of intent," the release said.

Appalachian State has also informed the NCAA of its concerns regarding the rules.

Graham is currently playing basketball at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Despite not enrolling at Appalachian State, the school does not intend to grant Graham's request for a release.

"Since he chose to sign a binding letter of intent with Appalachian State, we stopped recruiting a large number of student-athletes at his position in his class who would have been grateful for the opportunity to receive a full scholarship to attend and play basketball at our great institution," the school said.

Appalachian State says the issue will be resolved by the NCAA and that the school will not have any further comment.

Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT


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  • Toddler10-21 Oct 1, 2013

    Should head coaches stay until there contract is up? Or should they leave App. State for a job at well lets see, UNC?

  • MojoMadness Oct 1, 2013

    This kid got a reality check. When you sign and make a commitment you stand by it. Think of all the other kids who would love to have had the shot he had. You cant just walk away. You cant walk away from car payments or other binding contracts.

  • barleemi2 Sep 29, 2013

    This kid just got a WELCOME to the REAL world! I think when you sign your name it has to mean something. I also think Pro sports could learn from this. How many times has anyone seen a pro hold out on a contract they signed. I think pros should honor what they sign as well! This kid needs to go to APP. at least one year then and only then transfer.

  • Lost and Loaded Sep 28, 2013

    If I were App State I would release him, then sue the school that signs him afterwards. That school obviously broke the NCAA rules in contacting him after he signed with APP State. A cut and dry violation. Holding the kid against his desires would not be a good thing, this way at least App State gets compensated for the shady actions of another school.

  • anna96us Sep 27, 2013

    I think ASU is spot on. The boy signed a contract and it was all good until he got something better. The university planned on him being there and like they say lost out on other players. If graham was so good then why was it at the time he had no other offers on the table? Also after he signed this letter of intent why was all of a sudden being pursued by other schools when its supposed to be hands off?

  • DukeU Sep 27, 2013

    Note to Coach Capel and App State, please release this kid. Your embarrassing the University and yourselves by holding him hostage. He does not want there. This happens all the time and we all know how college recruiting works. Believe me, your future recruiting will suffer greatly if this continues.

  • punch Sep 27, 2013

    Brian, I hear what you are saying and understand to a point. However, this should work both ways. If the AD and/or coach get a better offer from another school, no one will decline their release. They are free to leave with no penalty. If they can do it, I feel that the student athlete should be able to leave with no penalty also.

  • bigfella Sep 27, 2013

    So it's OK for Capel to hold this kid hostage, but if the Carolina job came open tomorrow and they asked Capel if he wants the job, he can up and leave in a heartbeat, and without penalty. Capel needs to get a clue.

  • just brian Sep 27, 2013

    I am in the minority here and side with App. I have no dog in the fight as I did not attend the school.
    If I were a student/athlete that wanted to go there but he took the spot and I ended up somewhere else, I would be pretty ticked if they released him.
    He knew what he was signing and the restrictions. If he allowed others to contact him, that is HIS fault and his family's fault.
    This is the problem with today's world. Just because you got a better offer should not allow you to back out of a commitment you already made with someone else. Your word is your bond.
    App State is sticking to their word. This young man should stick to his.

  • VT1994Hokie Sep 27, 2013

    Student-athletes change their minds like this all of the time. Most schools honor a release without any discussion. Come on ASU, you can't win in this one. Allow him to move on and save yourselves a court case and embarrassment.