Big Ten

Michigan's John Beilein lifts restrictions, allowing Spike Albrecht to transfer within Big Ten

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Michigan's John Beilein lifts restrictions, allowing Spike Albrecht to transfer within Big Ten

Spike Albrecht and Ricky Doyle are transferring from Michigan. And now they’re allowed to transfer wherever they’d like.

Michigan head basketball coach John Beilein caught tons of heat earlier this week, when after Albrecht and Doyle announced their transfers he placed restrictions on where they could go, prohibiting them from transferring to another Big Ten school or a team on the Wolverines’ schedule in either of the next two seasons.

Those decrees didn’t sit well with many, the national media scorching Beilein for putting the restrictions in place.

Friday, Beilein reversed course and lifted those restrictions, though his statement made it all seem rather begrudging.

"After initially granting a transfer release for Ricky and a fifth-year graduate transfer for Spike consistent with the established norms regarding intraconference transfers, I am now removing all restrictions regarding their recruitment by other universities,” Beilein said in an announcement. “While I have concerns about the current transfer policies as well as potential effects to the landscape of collegiate athletics, we should do what is right for Ricky and Spike as they decide to further their education and basketball careers elsewhere.

"Ricky is an exemplary young man and has done everything we've asked of him. I applaud Spike on his upcoming graduation from Michigan and for continuing his diligent work to rehab his injuries. We do more than wish them well; we will assist and support them in the decision-making process.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Kendall Stephens exploring transfer from Purdue]

Albrecht is the main focal point here, a graduate transfer who has earned his degree with one year of NCAA eligibility remaining. This past season was expected to be his final collegiate season, but he missed the majority of the campaign after a pair of hip surgeries. Beilein doesn’t have room for Albrecht — and a requisite scholarship — on next year’s roster, so Albrecht can’t stay in Ann Arbor. A Crown Point, Ind., native, Albrecht understandably wants to continue playing in the Big Ten. Beilein wasn’t so hot on that possibility.

“Having a kid sit out a year is not like going to jail,” Beilein told Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde, whose column was one of the most attention-grabbing pieces criticizing Beilein. “It’s a slippery slope. I want what’s best for Spike but also what’s best for our program. You train a guy and develop him for four years and suddenly he’s the starting point guard at Michigan State?”

Now, as Michigan outlined, Beilein lifting those restrictions doesn’t automatically mean Albrecht will be suiting up for one of the Wolverines’ conference rivals next season. Albrecht still has to apply for and be granted a medical redshirt. Then he has to get a waiver from the conference that will allow him to transfer within the league and gain immediate eligibility.

But Beilein and Michigan went through this exact same situation a season ago with Max Bielfeldt. Beilein didn’t have room for Bielfeldt, and Bielfeldt successfully appealed to the school to allow him to transfer to another Big Ten school. The conference OK’d his situation, and Bielfeld joined the Indiana Hoosiers, helping them win a regular-season conference championship and earning Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year honors.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Michigan gear right here]

Bielfeldt even had a playful tweet for Albrecht on Friday after Beilein lifted the restrictions.

Albrecht could be a coup of an addition for any team that lands him inside or outside the conference. He played big-time reserve roles in his first two seasons — memorably scoring 17 points against Louisville in the 2013 national championship game — and averaged 32 minutes a game during the 2014-15 season while Michigan’s star guards were sidelined with injuries, scoring in double figures in nine of the team’s final 11 games.

Doyle, meanwhile, just wrapped his sophomore season and has two more years of eligibility remaining. He will have to sit out next season, per NCAA rules, before starting with his new team. If he decides to transfer within the conference, he will sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility, meaning he’ll have just one left when he starts playing again.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.