Greg Gard and Wisconsin had just come off of a dominant 88-70 win over Green Bay in which the Badgers never trailed and the offense looked good, but in the post-game presser, he was only asked one question about the game.
Gard dominated the presser and went on in great detail about his complete disappointment with the NCAA’s decision to deny Micah Potter’s final appeal.
“The level of frustration has gone beyond anything I have ever experienced in almost thirty years of coaching,” Gard said.
Gard went on for over four minutes after being asked about his disapproval, to put it lightly, with the decision and left it all out there.
“All of my frustration, and everyone’s frustration, and all the work that was put into this, that is irrelevant. The one that gets penalized the most in this is Micah Potter. And that’s completely unfair to have to sit this much, “ he said. “He did things the right way, that’s what’s so frustrating”
The denial of the appeal now confirms that the big man will not be eligible until December 21st when the Badgers take on UW-Milwaukee at home. Potter will surely be welcomed to the Kohl Center with a roar.
The last college basketball game Potter appeared in was all the way back on March 17th, 2018, in the NCAA tournament against Gonzaga.
By the time, Potter checks in against UW-Milwaukee on December 21st, he would have missed 47 games, 35 at Ohio State, and 12 at Wisconsin, if you include both the scrimmage against Iowa State and a preseason game against La Crosse. That time spans 21 months and three semesters.
“In all the things that go on in the NCAA and across college athletics, and you see so many negative things, Micah Potter is the quintessential student-athlete,” Gard said. “He’s exactly what the NCAA should want representing them as student-athletes. Instead of using that as a positive message for student-athletes, you took one of your best student-athletes in the country and penalized him further than everyone else.”
Gard was clearly infuriated by the NCAA’s decision. He went on to blast the committee and the inconsistency with which they have handled waivers.
“He’s got teammates that played games last year that are playing now at another institution. We’ve played against a guy that played all of last year. I was hoping common sense would prevail in all of this but unfortunately, it didn’t…
“His clock is ticking, the rest of us will go on, the people that are in those positions, in that committee, the NCAA staff, they obviously don’t have their boots on the ground and understand the impact that this on a young man, and on his life and on his future.”
On the basketball side of things, the 6’10” junior, adds a ton to the Badgers and their depth in the frontcourt specifically. There are currently only three players a part of Wisconsin’s rotation that are taller 6’4” and only two that are taller than 6’7”. Potter, who averaged 4.1 points per game, and 2.4 rebounds per game his final year at Ohio State, would add another big who can shoot and take some of the load off of Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers.
But this decision by the NCAA goes beyond basketball.
“Regardless of if he makes us a better team. It has nothing to do with that,” Gard said. “It has to do with this kid’s experience that’s been yanked away from him, and he’s being over penalized than any other transfer.”
The committee’s rationale has remained the same throughout the process: there weren’t any mitigating circumstances.
“I don’t know, when you’re told you need to distance yourself from the program, that’s not mitigating? Ohio State supported it, the Big Ten supported it, obviously, we had the support behind it, nobody resisted this on the outside,” Gard added.
Gard finished the post-game press conference with a last statement on Potter and the decision.
“The one that gets the short end of the stick here is Micah and that’s who I feel really bad for. He’s as good as a kid, a student, and person you’d ever want and it’s a shame,” he said.
Potter’s absence will include two big ten matchups and a potential resume booster against either Auburn or New Mexico.