After an NJ.com report on Monday surfaced stating that Cael Sanderson and Penn State were blocking Nick Suriano from transferring to Rutgers, some people came out in support of Suriano and others supported Cael Sanderson and Penn State. Noted antagonist of the NCAA, Jay Bilas, was one in support of Suriano.
This "student-athlete" is a WRESTLER! Let the unpaid, amateur STUDENT go to school where he wants. Don't stand in his way. https://t.co/MPDkbLP3er— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) August 8, 2017
However, despite growing pressure from people outside of Penn State, there are many supporters of the program in full support of refusing to grant Suriano's release to Rutgers. So, the real question that comes into play here is, should Penn State continue to refuse Suriano's release to another Big Ten school?
Rumors circulated throughout this summer that Suriano was considering a transfer to Rutgers. Considering the NJ.com report stated that Penn State has granted a release to any non-Big Ten school, it seems like Penn State is prepared for a 2017-18 season without the stud sophomore. So, what is the hold up for Penn State to prevent this specific transfer? It appears that Suriano does not want to attend Penn State anymore. Even if the reasons for that are unclear, what is the point of Penn State refusing to release a student-athlete that doesn't want to be there? Even without Suriano, the Nittany Lions will still be favorites for the national title in 2018. There is no significant competitive benefit to blocking Suriano's transfer to Rutgers since Suriano seems done at Penn State.
Suriano transferring to Rutgers does not open up the roster to be repeatedly poached by Iowa or Ohio State. Penn State is still the destination in college wrestling and it is one of the elite RTCs in the country. Flo Wrestling even reported how much more well off the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club was compared to every other RTC in the country. While it may be difficult for some to rationalize Suriano's decision to leave a team as well-positioned as Penn State, his mind appears to be made up. He has been training at the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club and participating in their events this summer, according to Flo's Christian Pyles.
Simply put, there does not appear to be a path to reconciliation between Cael and Suriano. Let him leave. Penn State will still be fine in the long-term.
Penn State and Cael have developed something special over the last eight years. Even though Suriano is an incredibly talented wrestler, replacing him will not be an impossibility. PSU has the most talented 2018 recruiting class by a significant distance and are the two-time defending team national champions. They return five individual national champions from a night that will be most remembered for a Vincenzo Joseph pin over one of the best college wrestlers in the last decade. Mark Hall is a 2-time junior world champion, Zain Retherford is wrestling in the senior world championships later this month, and 2018 commit Travis Wittlake is on the cadet world team.
Not to overlook Suriano, who is an incredible wrestler and as noted previously, one of the favorites for an NCAA Title in 2017-18. It would not matter if Suriano was wearing a blue and white singlet or a florescent hot pink romper, he will have a chance to win it all. Penn State has no obvious ready-made replacement at 125 pounds for this season, but they should have nine qualifiers for nationals. It does not appear Suriano will ever put on a Penn State singlet again, so it's up to Penn State to find the next great 125-pound wrestler to beat Suriano, not hold Suriano back from the place he wants to be.