Sorting Out the Alex Oriakhi Transfer Reports


Once upon a time, there was a school which competed in the Big East. In 2005, this athletics program left for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

What school, you ask? Why, Boston College.

Prior to Boston College’s departure for the ACC, they were served with a lawsuit from the Big East which was spearheaded by the University of Connecticut. Ever since the harsh divorce between them, the two schools have hated each other’s guts with the fire of a thousand suns.

In recent years, during conference realignment musical chairs, UConn was angling for a spot in the ACC as the Big East looked like it was going down by the stern (this is before the latter conference started gobbling up teams all over the country at random). Boston College’s athletic director, Gene DeFilippo, made sure Connecticut was left out in the cold. As a matter of fact, he was proud of it.

This week, there were reports that UConn stuck its middle finger back up at Boston College by prohibiting transferring basketball player Alex Oriakhi from enrolling at BC. Reports are conflicting, however; take it away, ATL:


First and foremost, if the initial report is true, it would not surprise me. It is no secret that BC and UConn don’t like each other, and if Connecticut is in fact blocking Oriakhi from coming here, then this is the next in a line of incidents stemming from the lawsuit.

It would also make one wonder if the pissing match is ever going to end. Clearly, DeFilippo’s admission that he stuffed UConn’s ACC bid did not help, but denying a player the ability to transfer to BC is not as meaningful a retaliatory act as stopping Connecticut from joining their conference. Still, it would be UConn’s move to make if they so choose.

But wait, there’s more! This from CBS Sports college basketball writer Jeff Goodman:

Goodman is from Massachusetts and is familiar with the Boston College program, so one would imagine that if we were on Oriakhi’s list, he would be aware of it. Perhaps BC has reached out, but even if they have, this school might be a longshot compared to some of the heavy-hitters on the list.

If Oriakhi, who would be instantly eligible to play for Boston College given UConn’s NCAA sanctions, is unable or unwilling to go to BC, the basketball team would be missing out. Again, it is not as grave a move as blocking a team’s entry into a conference, but it is a hit on BC. Now, granted, Oriakhi might not have come to Chestnut Hill, anyway, but if the Hoffses report is true, then Connecticut took the decision out of his hands. If not, then it seems unlikely BC would land him given the list of suitors lining up for him.

Even if initial reports are true and Boston College is in fact on Oriakhi’s list, I find myself unable to direct too much outrage at DeFilippo in this case. Readers of STG know that in the past six months, I have become a staunch critic of the athletic director, but the bad blood has existed for years and UConn, if this is their choice, has every right to limit Oriakhi’s transfer options. That may not be the best thing for him personally if indeed he wanted to play here, and some may argue that it shouldn’t be allowed at all, but that’s their problem. I had considered this as a possible outcome, so perhaps that’s why I am not angered about it.

One thing we do know, however, is that Boston College has been in this situation with football, and they allowed Shakim Phillips to transfer to UConn last year. In that case, would stopping Oriakhi when BC played nice on a recent transfer make them look weaselly? Sure, but once more, that’s their issue.

At the end of the day, Oriakhi, more likely than not, is going to end up at some “basketball factory” school, so there is no reason to feel any strong emotions one way or the other. Even if he does, there are still legitimate options for Boston College in the 2012 transfer sweepstakes, and we’ll take a deeper look in a future article.