Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/19/12
MADISON, Wis. The Jarrod Uthoff saga at the University of Wisconsin appears to have finally turned a corner. Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward for the Badgers basketball team, had his "permission to contact" restrictions lifted on any schools outside the Big Ten on Thursday, according to a release from the Wisconsin athletic department. The release stated that Uthoff visited with both associate athletic director Justin Doherty and athletic director Barry Alvarez on Thursday morning as part of an appeal process. Doherty, Alvarez and Badgers basketball coach Bo Ryan then met collectively and came to a decision to lift all restrictions outside the Big Ten. Uthoff, who asked for his transfer release last Thursday, had been restricted from contacting 26 schools all of the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference, Florida, Marquette and Iowa State. Ryan initially blocked most of those schools because he didn't want Uthoff to attend a program that could potentially play Wisconsin, and the story quickly made national news. Uthoff had until 5 p.m. last Friday to file an appeal and reportedly had a friend drop off his request with the athletic department. But the letter remained in Doherty's mailbox, and he did not receive it until after the two-day appeal deadline, prompting Thursday's meeting between Uthoff and athletic officials. The release indicated that Ryan wanted to use the appeals process as a means for dialogue to occur between Uthoff and the Wisconsin athletic department. Uthoff reportedly called Ryan last Thursday to inform him of a desire to transfer while the coach was on vacation with his wife. Ryan offered to cut the vacation short to discuss the matter in person with Uthoff, but the two never met face to face. According to the release, Uthoff requested permission to contact 16 schools, four of which were denied. He then appealed three of the four schools that were denied. If Uthoff wishes to further appeal the permission to contact denial by any Big Ten university, he may request a hearing to the chair of the athletic board within eight business days. Uthoff, who took a redshirt season at Wisconsin, said Wednesday when reached by phone that he had a visit to Creighton scheduled for Monday but no other immediate plans. "There's no real timeline," he said. "I just want to explore my options and then make a decision based on that. Staying close to home is pretty important. At this point, I'm looking for a good fit." Uthoff was named Mr. Basketball in Iowa in 2011 and the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state. He was a first-team all-state selection during his senior season after averaging 26.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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