Sep 27, 2013
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.
"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.
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