ASU refuses to release athlete from National Letter of Intent; she will sit out a year

Karina Alofaituli asked out of her National Letter of intent with Arizona State after Coach Charli Turner-Thorne said she would take a year off. But ASU denied the Newbury Park, CA forward, so she will have to sit out a year beginning this fall, as she attends USC.

It’s ironic, because a few years ago when Kali Bennett opted to be a Sun Devil after Washington coach June Daugherty was fired, the Huskies declined to release her from her LOI. It seems hypocritical to me that ASU is now doing the same thing.

More importantly, this practice is unethical. If a young person has signed with a school, they are doing so mostly because of the coach. If that coach is let go or allowed to take a leave by the school, then the school should release that athlete from her LOI. Not doing so is greedy, and lacks integrity.

I have not rooted for the UW since the Bennett incident. I’m going to add ASU to my list now. Any school that chooses to punish young people for the decisions of the school doesn’t deserve any support.

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  1. This is really disgusting! As soon as Charli opted to take a leave of absence, the classy thing to do was give every recruit the option to look elsewhere. Who wants to hold a kid hostage? UW found out how well that worked with Katelan Redmon, when she simply came for a year and then went right to Gonzaga… I think Cori Close and UCLA did a really good thing in that respect. Sure, they probably didn't like the outcome, but it was the right thing to do.

    Notwithstanding all of the above, I think ASU was particularly deceptive in this instance. I'd be surprised if there wasn't some discussion of the possibility that Charli would take a year off when this class was coming together. Her leave of absence is unprecedented, I'm sure it took some time to work out the details. At the same time, however, I would also venture to guess the possibility was never mentioned to any of their recruits. Shame on ASU!

  2. Great points made. Another reason Karina decided to stay home after Charli left is because her Grandfather who was helping her single mother raise her has terminal cancer. He was originally going to move to Arizona to watch her play but the cancer started speading again and he chose to stay close to Loma Linda Hospital whom he credits for saving his life thus far.

  3. Problem is that if someone is allowed to opt out of a contract type agreement you could have a sky falling affect, coaches could keep recruiting and snatch players away if the player feels they woud start at a nother program. The universities in the end lose out as they are the ones footing the bill. Why is having to sit a year considered disgusting, it's a consequence nothing more, without consequences what would life be like!!!! Also recruits talk to assts more than anything and they haven't changed, neither has the university.

  4. Yes, if you sign a letter of intent and the coaching staff remains in place/there are no major changes between signing and going to school, you must be held to that agreement! That makes perfect sense…

    In this case, that is not what happened. She signed a letter of intent, and the coach promptly took a "leave of absence." But, is there really any guarantee that she will be back? In all likelihood Charli at least had some idea that she might leave when she asked Karina to sign that letter of intent, but I highly doubt she alerted her to that possibility. While schools are permitted to hold students to their "contractual" commitment when this occurs. There is an understanding, amongst schools with any class, that a head coaching change is a circumstance that warrants allowing the student at least an opportunity to change his/her mind. See Cal and UCLA, who both gave their student athletes the opportunity to explore other options when their head coaches left after "signing-day."

    The circumstances have changed. That is the key here! You obviously were not a student-athlete, otherwise you would understand what a big component the head coach is in any player's decision. How a head coach can shape your experience as a player, and therefore your experience as a student, and how important all of these issues are when it comes to a student athletes' overall well being. Given the amount of time that any student athlete commits to their sport, it makes perfect sense that they would be given the opportunity to change their mind if that key component changes. Assistant coaches may run the recruiting trail, but everyone knows the head coach runs the team and to a certain extent your destiny. It's different!

    Looking at this from another perspective, upon signing a recruiting class and representing that they will be at the school for the long-term, is a coach committed to sticking with the program for a year because they have a "contract?" The answer is NO! Do they have to sit out a year from coaching should they choose to leave? Again, NO? Why should young student athletes, who are often pressured to make these decisions much earlier than they are ready to do so, be held to a standard that schools and coaches aren't willing to live up to themselves?? That argument makes little sense to me!

    Notwithstanding all of the above, sounds like Karina also faces tragic and unforeseen personal circumstances. I stand by my original assessment. It is "disgusting" when adults hold kids to a standard they cannot live up to themselves. If the rules are applied evenly, if coaches are held to the same rigid standard as players, I'm with you. But, that is not the case…