We've pretty-well beaten the "Sandi Marcius Wants His Last Two Classes Paid For" horse to death by now I'd say, as far as writing our opinions go, so I'll try to stick to just recapping Matt Painter and Morgan Burke's comments on the issue that were reported by GBI and Jeff Washburn at the J&C this afternoon.
Before we get to Painter's comments on Sandi Marcius wanting his last two classes paid for, I'm going to look at the quote I found most surprising from Athletic Director Morgan Burke, as reported in the Journal and Courier: Burke says Sandi would still be welcome to come back and join the Purdue team:
"We don't think Sandi is miserable here, and we're not miserable with Sandi," Burke said. "I am still hopeful. We've said he can get a release to look around. We're not going to be harsh in that regard. If that is the option he selects, then he has to be willing to pick up the (financial) responsibility for the (summer) classes. We're prepared to stand by our part of the bargain. I hope he can have a little space, reflect, look at his options and realize that right here in West Lafayette is the best place for him. Sandi has done nothing wrong here and has burned no bridges. We're not drawing a line in the sand. We want him to finish his degree and his experience here."
There was one more, less interesting to me, quote from Burke in Washburn's story:
"We're prepared - and still are - to have him graduate here at Purdue," Burke said. "We have stepped up and said we will honor that (scholarship) commitment next year, but we want a reciprocal commitment from him. I can't speak for the folks that are advising Sandi. He and I have had two conversations. Matt and I have had conversations. Matt has had conversations with Sandi. I really think Sandi is trying to sort out what is best."
Painter talked to the media in a teleconference, where he was obviously asked about Sandi requesting Purdue pay for his two summer classes, which will cost approximately $7,000. Here are the quotes he gave the media, as reported by Gold and Black Illustrated.
"Sandi voluntarily withdrew from our team," Painter said. "Now he wants us to pay for his school after the fact and that's just something that we haven't done. As a head coach, and this is something Morgan (Burke) talked to me about when he interviewed me: 'You're in charge of your roster.' Nobody can tell me who's on my roster and who is not on my roster, and Morgan's in charge of the grant-in-aid.
"I wish (Marcius) nothing but the best. I gave him a blanket release so that he can play anywhere else that he wants. We were committed to paying for his school this summer if he was with us, and we were committed to paying for his fifth year of school next year, which would have been grad school, if he was with us. We committed to Sandi from Day 1 and have paid for all of his schooling while he's been with us. Now he's decided to leave our program, and he's not with us and he voluntarily did that. No one told him he had to leave. We wanted him to stay. That was the decision that he made."
A blanket release, for those that are wondering, means Purdue has released him to play at any school that will take him, within Big Ten rules. The Big Ten doesn't allow intra-conference transfers.
Painter then addressed Sandi's people's claims that Purdue should pay for Marcius's last two classes because last year at this time they paid for John Hart's final two summer classes before he transfered to IUPUI for his fifth year.
"John Hart's situation was different. He did not voluntarily leave," Painter said. "We met the spring before with his parents and really sat down and mapped out a couple of different scenarios for him going forward, We had talked about (a fifth-year transfer) being a possible scenario for him. They were very forthcoming and upfront in talking about where he was in our program, where I saw him, and what his options were. We had talked about that before and we had a mutually agreed situation. John did not voluntarily leave our team and he did not quit our team. We came together and talked about it well in advance and communicated it and said, 'If this is the scenario, then we will help you along.' And we paid for it financially because it was mutually agreed (upon)."
Just to get ahead of this before the IU fans reading this jump on the second sentence of this quote and ignore the rest, when Painter says, "He did not voluntarily leave," he doesn't mean that Hart was cut from the team. He is saying that he met with Hart and his family and explained how little he was likely to play, and talked to them about their expectations for how much he thought he should play. When they clearly weren't on the same page, they discussed other options. Painter and his staff, it can be inferred, helped Hart get on the team at IUPUI when it was decided he would transfer.
Painter's final quote is basically just a repeat of what he's said since news broke that Marcius wanted to transfer.
"(Marcius) was a little frustrated by that and I understand that. I totally understand that as a guy who played once," Painter said. "We really expected those guys to be a tandem for us next year, but he wasn't happy and he expressed that. ... I talked to him two or three times and really expressed that I wanted him to stay, but he didn't, so we gave him his release and wish him nothing but the best. He is a great guy and hopefully he finds a home and is happier at his next school."