If you have been browsing through the sports sections of Twitter recently, chances are you’ve seen the hashtag #FreeCM4. You might be wondering what’s the meaning behind this, and why are TCU football players posting about it?
The relatively viral hashtag stands for “Free Chandler Morris” regarding the rising sophomore’s NCAA eligibility status after transferring from Oklahoma to TCU after the fall semester.
#FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4 #FreeCM4— Zach Evans (@Runzekerun01) March 23, 2021
For context, Chandler Morris is a 5-11, 180 lb dual-threat quarterback that experienced most of true freshman season as the Sooner’s third string behind Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler.
Coming out of Highland Park High School in Dallas, Morris was a three-star recruit ranked as the 18th best dual-threat QB in the class of 2020, according to 247sports.
Morris is already enrolled as a full-time student at TCU, but the status of his transfer has been up in the air for quite some time now leaving players, coaches and fans all wondering if he will be able to play come next fall.
The NCAA transfer portal seems to be one of those enigmas that no matter how many times someone explains how it actually works, the rules seem to change on a case-by-case basis.
For Morris’s situation in particular, the University of Oklahoma must first release him from his national letter of intent considering he was still in his first year when he decided to transfer.
If this happens, TCU can pursue full eligibility via an immediate eligibility waiver from the NCAA. Another aspect of this transfer is that the NCAA has been rumored to potentially adopt a policy that allows one-time transfers. If this were to happen, the Horned Frogs and Morris are home free and could forgo the waiver process, according to cbssports.
So where lies the issue in all this? This delay in eligibility seems to be standard practice from the NCAA’s stand point, but the controversy began when Oklahoma refused to release Morris from his national letter of intent.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley had his fair share of things to say regarding Morris’s eligibility in an interview with The Athletic’s Jason Kersey: “This particular situation for us is about something that we believe in,” said Riley. “Myself, the leadership here at OU, we think it’s unhealthy for college football to encourage intra-conference transfers”
It doesn’t stop there…
“Coaches understand the big picture, and that’s going to bring along a lot of negatives that we don’t want in this game. That’s been something we’ve been adamantly opposed to for a long time,” said Riley.
Really Lincoln? Exactly how long has it been since transfer players began “bringing negatives to the game?” It seems like the transfer portal worked out just fine and dandy for the Sooners when they had not one, not two, but THREE quarterbacks transfer into the program and go on to win the Heisman trophy.
Of course, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and Baker Mayfield’s transfer details were different in their own ways, but how does Riley not see the contradiction in his statement?
Here is Lincoln Riley’s full statement:
Lincoln Riley on his stance towards intraconference transfers as it relates to former #Sooners QB Chandler Morris who transferred to TCU in January. https://t.co/SCeAFeOpy5 pic.twitter.com/bKop9i3X4F— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) March 24, 2021
Riley seems to have formed the basis of his argument on the fact that Morris transferred within the conference, and if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is.
Oklahoma has found success from their relatively recent hires of offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh from West Virginia and defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux from Kansas — funny how they both came from fellow Big 12 schools.
On top of that, the most notable intra-conference transfer to Oklahoma would have to be Baker Mayfield transferring from Texas Tech.
Mayfield led the sooners to two College Football Playoff appearances and three Big 12 titles en route to winning the 2017 Heisman trophy. Lincoln Riley wasn’t responsible for recruiting Mayfield considering he was the offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops at the time of his transfer, but boy did he reap the benefits.
Funny how Mayfield’s transfer conveniently didn’t “bring negatives” to the game.
I could rant about Lincoln Riley’s backwards statement all day, but this situation really brings attention to the seemingly endless problems with the NCAA transfer portal and their extensive rules.