The Saga of Vernon Adams, Jr.

The Saga of Vernon Adams, Jr.

I had the pleasure of covering Vernon Adams, Jr. the past three years at Eastern Washington University. While not a beat writer that went everywhere with the team, I was around enough to see the growth and maturity of Adams – his development as a leader (both emotional and vocal). I interacted with Adams on multiple occasions and always came away with the feeling that EWU was in good hands. 

When the news broke yesterday that Adams was transferring to Oregon, I wasn’t surprised. Adams’ situation is not unique. Graduating early, eligibility remaining – he is free to transfer to another school as a fifth-year senior. If a Pac-12 Conference school comes calling, you go. No hesitation.

It would have been interesting to see what Adams would have done next season with the Eagles. But, he made the choice that was best for him and his young family. And make no mistake, it was his choice



The EWU Response

Also not surprising was Eastern Washington’s response to the transfer news:

Athletic Director Bill Chaves 

“We wish Vernon the best in his future endeavors and thank him for all that he has done for Eastern. The chance for him to pursue this opportunity is certainly a unique one given the fifth-year transfer rule. We are not sure that this was the actual intent of the legislation when it was approved, but it is the rule currently in place that we and potentially other schools have to adhere to. We will continue to work through the process of this transfer based on the rule as it stands now.”

Head Coach Beau Baldwin

“I am very thankful for everything Vernon has done for Eastern and our football program these past four seasons. I wish him nothing but the best in his senior season. We are very confident in the quarterbacks in our program, and our expectations and goals are the same for what we are capable of accomplishing in the 2015 season.”

Then word comes down that EWU would no longer let Adams work out with the team. And the reactions started flowing in like this one.  


RELATED: A Bird of a Different Feather: Vernon Adams


Beat Eastern Washington

EWU gave Adams a scholarship when no FCS-level schools like Oregon gave him a sniff coming out of high school. They taught him in the classroom, on the field and yes, even in life. They supported him throughout his time there. He gave to them – they gave in return. 

Dave Flemming is not alone in his opinion. Many in the Twitterverse shared Flemming’s sentiments. Talk radio, tv pundits, popular blogs all weighed in on this workout saga. It’s another sign of how screwed up the NCAA really is, according to some. Another school screwing an athlete, to paraphrase Flemming. 

Most, however, disregard a key element: EWU’s next opponent is Oregon. 

EWU wished Adams the best. But, make no mistake about it. They don’t like the rule that allowed him to transfer. That said, Vernon made a choice. His choice is to no longer be a part of EWU’s football team. The guys he’s been with these past four years, including those new to the program this past season…they are no longer his teammates. He’s a member of Oregon’s team. He is now on the other side.

To not take that into account as to why EWU won’t allow Adams to work out with the team is a sign of short-sightedness. What about the players who are still committed to Eastern Washington? They are striving toward next season. That first game against the Ducks. Another Pac-12 opener for the Eagles where they will have upset on their mind again. Everything this off-season is focused on that first game.

In Eugene. 

Vernon Adams, Jr. won’t be their quarterback that day. Had he stayed, he would have been one of the ones to tell teammates about that Oregon game, “We can do this. Why not us?”. Instead, he will be finishing up his schooling and absorbing anything and everything he can about Oregon’s offense so he and his Oregon teammates can beat Eastern Washington. 


Let me type those words again. 


That’s the goal for Adams and the Ducks. Those in that Eastern Washington weight room? Beat Adams and the Ducks. 

© CadChica Sports


Tell me again why Adams should be allowed to work out with his ex-teammates? 


FINAL THOUGHTS: I am not one to bang the NCAA drum. I’ve written before on how I believe athletes in sports bringing in serious money for schools, deserve to be paid beyond just their scholarship. I’m also keenly aware of the multitude of times where the NCAA has prevented an athlete from transferring due to archane rules while coaches switch jobs freely.

But, I am open-minded enough to see that this Adams saga does not fall under those same scenarios. To suggest otherwise shows closed-mindedness to all of the facts. (RELATED: Read Kyle Bonagura’s ESPN piece with more detail.)

In its current state, NCAA big-time sports are not just about education. They are a business too. That does not mean there aren’t coaches and schools who do not care about the welfare of their student-athletes. Eastern Washington supported Adams during his career. According to reports, Coach Beau Baldwin met with Adams while he was weighing this decision. He laid out the scenarios. Asked questions. Provided what guidance he could that the NCAA allowed. He was there for Adams like I’ve seen him be there for other players as well, including during Eastern’s emotional final game this past season. 

Vernon Adams Jr. made a business decision. He has an eye toward the NFL that he feels can best be achieved at Oregon.

Play well. Win games. As an Oregon Duck. 

EWU made a business decision too. They have an eye toward Eugene that first game.

Play well. Win games. As an Eastern Washington Eagle. 


CadChica Sports

Posted by Sunny Cadwallader

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