Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, news came out that Miami, Fla. linebacker and Florida State signee Matthew Thomas was looking for a way out of FSU, having formally announced that he would be seeking a release. This week, Florida State is speaking back, as Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles athletic department are not ready to allow Thomas to walk on his own accord, per a report from Tallahassee.com.
"During a break at the ACC spring meetings here Tuesday morning, FSU athletic director Randy Spetman told the Democrat that the school was surprised by Thomas’ request and has no intention of releasing him from his LOI."
With a player as highly touted at Thomas, it’s understandable that Florida State would want to have the ability to do everything in their ability to try to reconcile in order keep him on their roster. That said, Spetman’s remark about Thomas’s request being a surprise is a surprise in itself, considering that the linebacker told the media about his desire to play at USC and not Florida State, just one week after signing day, which was three months ago.
After his initial remark, Spetman went on to speak on the fear of setting a precedent with Thomas, which he claimed would set a trend in college football. An unrelated BCS coach told the Sporting News the same exact thing.
“We would be more than happy to release someone if there is a compelling reason,” Spetman told the ACC media.
In terms of precedence, Seantrel Henderson’s release from USC in 2010 appears to be a basic set of precedence for a five-star recruit to be released in the summer before their freshman year. Though for Spetman, Henderson’s desire to avoid NCAA sanctions at USC probably would fulfill his ‘compelling reason’ clause, which is likely how FSU would rationalize Henderson’s move not setting a trend.
Either way, it looks like Thomas will have to seek out the NCAA if he wants to stick to the plan of leaving Florida State, which likely would require him to sit out a year at some point, whether it be 2013 or 2014, depending on what happens and if he ever talks the field at the Doak.