After going public with a damning critique of the NCAA’s transfer system, shooting guard Cam Johnson has been granted his full release by Pittsburgh and will be eligible to play for the University of North Carolina next season, per news that his father gave to reporters.
Johnson is a summa cum laude graduate of Pittsburgh with two years of athletic eligibility remaining. He announced that he planned to transfer April 1, after a season in which Pitt went 16-17 and failed to qualify for either the NCAA Tournament or NIT, and spent more than a month visiting schools before selecting UNC. While the NCAA allows potential graduate student transfers to transfer and play for any program immediately, it also allows schools and conferences to make their own rules underneath that policy—and Pittsburgh used this latitude to determine that Johnson could only transfer to a fellow ACC program if he sat out a year first.
Johnson, who is 6-foot-7 and a potential NBA prospect, first tried to go through Pittsburgh’s internal appeals process to obtain his full release. When that didn’t work, he went public—writing an open letter in the Raleigh News & Observer, describing his love of Carolina and his frustration with Pittsburgh’s athletic department and its refusal to grant his release.
Two days later, Pitt has changed its tune and given Johnson his full release, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for Carolina next year.
It’s a happy ending for Johnson, to be sure—but undoubtedly frustrating that being granted the agency to choose where he contributes his labor required public shaming and weeks of back-and-forth, rather than being a simple standard.
Update (8:25 p.m. ET): Pitt has released a statement, pointing fingers at the NCAA here.