Source: Chaundee Brown Should Receive Immediate Eligiblity
Chaundee Brown's decision to transfer to Michigan May 19 was a win for the Maize and Blue program. With the 6-5, 220-pound wing, the Wolverines would have a top-eight rotation as strong as any team in the Big Ten. That is, of course, if he is eligible to play as a senior following his departure from Wake Forest.
On May 20, the NCAA voted to punt the issue of immediate eligibility for first-time transfers to 2021-22 (though suggesting legislation will be drafted and enacted beginning in January), which means Brown - and incoming Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern - will both have to go the traditional route of applying for an exemption to play as seniors this upcoming season.
TheAthletic.com's Brendan Quinn has already written that Michigan will file a request on behalf of Brown, citing the firing of Demon Deacons' head coach Danny Manning as justification. However, this particular situation is complicated, as Quinn wrote: "Brown entered his name in both the NBA Draft and the NCAA transfer portal on April 15, 10 days before Manning was fired.
"Transfer situations involving a coach being fired present a gray area. The NCAA has not traditionally granted waivers in these cases."
That may be, but a source with intimate knowledge of the transfer process told Wolverine Digest, Brown should get immediate eligibility for a number of reasons.
"It's multi-faceted, but let's start with the aesthetics. It's a bad look to deny a young man a chance to play his senior season when his coach was fired, especially in a COVID-19 world in which the NCAA is acknowledging these are extraordinary circumstances for its student-athletes.
"I understand the premise that Chaundee declared before Manning was let go, but any good lawyer will present the case that there was signifiant grounds to believe Manning's days were numbered, and Brown simply announced his decision ahead of time, with expectations that his coach would be fired.
"Beyond that, you have two factors working in his favor. The first is this recent rise of the G-League, with a few high-profile recruits opting to skip college altogether for pro basketball. Since the adoption of the NBA's 'one-year-out-of-school' rule, the NCAA hasn't had much competition for its players. There were, of course, a few rare cases, but there was no real threat.
"Now, you've got players openly talking about using the G-League as a stepping stone, and that's bad for the NCAA. So, if you're looking at this, would you rather have a young man like Chaundee, who could be a standout on a Michigan team with a lot of cache, spending next year in the college game or in the pros?
"So that, I believe, will be a factor.
"And finally - Michigan. It's a BIG brand. And the NCAA needs its big brands next year more than ever. The 2021 NCAA Tournament is, arguably, the most important sporting event for the NCAA in its history. It's going to be a success regardless, but it needs to be gigantic. And the brand-name schools - Michigan, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, Kansas, UCLA - are the driving force behind that.
"So if it ultimately comes down to giving a program like Michigan the benefit of the doubt, you damn well better believe the NCAA will do so."