(Quick note: I'm writing this before Matt Painter's press conference this afternoon, so don't be surprised if more information comes out on this situation soon.)
The Sandi Marcius story that came out last night doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.
Last night, Mike Hutton from the Gary Post-Tribune Tweeted that Marcius was unhappy with Purdue because they are refusing to pay for his final two classes he needs to graduate and transfer for his fifth-year of school. Here is a link to last night's post with my take on that issue.
The same reporter is continuing to release information today, this time claiming that Sandi Marcius wasn't at the team banquet because Matt Painter told him he wasn't welcome there.
If this is true, I don't like this move from Matt Painter. Yes, Sandi wanted to leave the school and find more playing time somewhere else and Painter wasn't happy about it, but it was an end of the year banquet for the team. It wasn't about the future, and Sandi was a member of the team last season. You have to let him come to the banquet with the rest of that team. (The obvious exception I would make here is if a guy was booted from the team for legal issues or anything of that sort.) Sandi wasn't kicked off the team though, he asked to leave it.
So there, all you commenters that think I'm attacking Sandi and blindly following Matt Painter in these articles. I just took his side on an issue. But those guys also might want to stop reading here.
The biggest problem with all of this situation is not that Purdue is give one more semester of scholarship benefits to a guy that wanted out of his scholarship or allegedly banned him from coming to the team banquet. Nor is that Marcius somehow expected Purdue to pay for these classes.
The problem is how all of this is coming out.
Ever since it was leaked that Sandi Marcius would be asking to be released from his scholarship to play his fifth year elsewhere, it has been clear that Marcius is not acting alone in his decisions. This has been hinted at by Gold and Black Illustrated in print and on the Dan Dakich Show on radio. Clearly there are people that have ulterior intentions out there that would like to see Marcius get paid to play in Europe, and likely see financial benefits themselves for that when it happens.
These guys have clearly gotten in Sandi's ears at some point recently. I've interviewed Sandi before and spent some time around this team during his first two years with the program. He always came off as a kind of easygoing guy that was just happy to be at Purdue. This has been confirmed by other writers that cover Purdue.
Yet something seems to have changed late this season, when Marcius's on-court performance finally started matching his potential.
Suddenly Marcius is coming off as a guy that feels entitled to things. That is almost a guaranteed indicator that someone was in his ear. These are the same people that are leaking this information to Mike Hutton for him to Tweet.
The people handling Marcius are leaking information to Hutton in the hopes that people will get outraged and Purdue caves in to public pressure and pays the bill. Remember, Hutton is the guy that first reported Marcius would be transferring. He's also a guy that has less than 300 Twitter followers, so he stands to benefit from helping Marcius's handlers out and Tweeting this information that thousands of people are interested in.
It's interesting to me that despite all this information from his "source," Hutton and the Post-Tribune haven't written a story on this situation. That would, after all, involve them having a responsibility to try to get someone from Purdue to comment on the situation. It would also benefit them from having a quote from an actual person, not just a person hiding behind being an anonymous "source."
Painter and everyone at Purdue knows who this "source" is. So do GBI, Dakich, and the rest of the traditional media that are around this constantly. They've dealt with these people before.
The only reasons this source is staying anonymous is so that the average fan doesn't see his clear connection to Marcius, and what he stands to benefit from Marcius, and disregard his "information" as biased. Along with that, they don't want to go on the record and burn bridges or upset coaches before Sandi lands at a new school for his fifth-year, something I don't think he can do until he actually graduates.
Even worse than this anonymous source is how Hutton is allowing them to use him as a puppet, without even trying to be a responsible journalist. Maybe Purdue should pay for the classes, maybe it shouldn't. I can see both sides of that. I can't see two sides to Hutton's situation, where he is clearly only trying to relay one side of the story.