USF Pulls Scholarship Offer From Connor Rafferty; Everyone Gets Mad

USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls take back an offer from Robinson OL Connor Rafferty, who committed when Skip Holtz was still the coach. But it's hard to see how they could have handled things differently if they decided he wasn't going to be able to play in their system.

(UPDATE: A couple of days after I wrote this, it came out that USF didn't truly pull their offer... but they did suggest to Rafferty that he might want to look around at other offers because they didn't think he would get much playing time. He can still sign with USF if he wants to, and they'll honor it.)

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This morning brought a surprise -- USF pulled an offer to Robinson's Connor Rafferty, which brought out the predictable reaction from everyone.

"I feel we were blindsided here by this," said former Knights coach Mike DePue, who retired at the end of the '12 season.

"(Three) weeks 'til national signing day, and we're throwing his name out there again. Maybe this wasn't a good fit for him, but I'm not pleased with the direction this organization's taking. ... Right now, if I were the coach here, (USF) would not be welcome here right now."

These stories are always the worst because it's an open invitation for family members and assgriefed high school coaches to tee off on a school for what they've done. Meanwhile, the school isn't allowed to say anything because the player is still recruitable. (Nor would they likely say anything afterwards, because it's tawdry and doesn't really help anyone.) This is a bit different than when Skip Holtz pulled Brion Carnes' scholarship offer a few years ago, because Carnes was committed to the previous coach but was still openly considering other offers. That makes the Rafferty story worse, because he decided his recruitment was over after he committed to USF, and because Doug Woolard said that commitments to Holtz would be honored by Willie Taggart and his staff.

Matt Baker rhetorically asked the question in the Times' Home Team blog, "What should USF football have done about Connor Rafferty?" Unfortunately I think they did about as well as they can do, if they're really convinced he doesn't fit Taggart's system and he won't get a chance to play. They let him know the situation (maybe they could have called him at a better time than 10:30 on a Sunday night, if they were allowed) and that was it. No one likes the idea of college athletes having their scholarships revoked, whether they've signed their LOI or not, but Baker is right that the USF coaches would still be on the hook if Rafferty never developed.

Not mentioned in the story -- does USF think they can get a commitment from someone they think is a better prospect? That doesn't make pulling an offer less painful, but paired together, it would make things a little more understandable.

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