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Loophole allows in-state schools to contact Utes' Josh Sharp

Published June 3, 2011 3:28 pm

Utah basketball • Redshirt freshman seeking unconditional release from scholarship.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Josh Sharp wanted out of his scholarship at Utah, and, it seems, he found a way to make it happen.

The Utes announced Friday that Sharp, currently serving a mission in Texas for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, could be recruited by other programs due to a loophole in National Letter of Intent rules.

Sharp could become the eighth player to leave the Utes' program since the hiring of Larry Krystkowiak as head coach on April 3.

Sharp, who played in high school at Lone Peak, signed a letter of intent in November of 2007, but it was technically invalid because he did not simultaneously sign a financial aid agreement. He spent 2008 with the team as a redshirt freshman, and if he returned to the Utes, he would have four years of eligibility remaining. If he transferred to another Division I program, Sharp would be forced to sit out one season due to NCAA eligibility rules.

"We want Josh to be a part of our program and are disappointed that rival schools can take advantage of a loophole in the system should they choose," Krystkowiak said. "Josh attended classes here for a year, signed an NLI and financial aid agreement, and we want him to continue his education and playing career here."

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Tuesday that Sharp was seeking an unconditional release from his scholarship, and that he might be interested in staying in Utah, with a program like BYU or Utah State.

Sources close to the Sharp family said that no school had contacted them to gauge the 6-foot-7 forward's interest in a transfer. Krystkowiak, who refused to comment further, alluded to such actions in his statement.

"It is my understanding that there is an unwritten rule that players cannot by recruited by other schools while they are serving missions," Krystkowiak said. "To do so is not only inappropriate, but it creates an atmosphere of ill will."

Krystkowiak declined to elaborate and not explicitly say that other programs have recruited Sharp while on his mission.


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