Breaking down the Caleb Lohner saga and its impact on the Utes


Breaking down the Caleb Lohner saga and its impact on the Utes

And no one inside the BYU athletic department is saying anything at all regarding Lohner.

As the saga surrounding the 6-foot-9 forward continues, it is important to lay out those two facts, because there’s been a lot of conjecture, assumptions and guesswork floating around online.

Per a Utah athletic department spokesman, Lohner, as of the weekend, remained enrolled in second-half summer classes, which begin Thursday online. What that signifies, if anything, is unclear.

Lohner signed it on Nov. 13, the first day of the early signing period, after offering a verbal commitment to Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak almost three months earlier. At the time of the verbal commitment, Lohner was ranked as one of the top-100 class of 2020 recruits in the country via the 247sports composite.

Lohner asking for his release is not in dispute, nor is his desire to play for BYU. Lohner father, Matt, graduated from Provo High School in 1991, then played at BYU during the 1991-92 season and again from 1994-96.

How this ultimately plays out is up for discussion. But what is not up for discussion is who is in the driver’s seat. That’s Krystkowiak and athletic director Mark Harlan.

The National Letter of Intent is essentially a legally-binding agreement between a student-athlete and a school once he/she signs it. To get a release, a student-athlete must submit a release form to both the current school’s athletic department as well as the NCAA Eligibility Center. Utah has 30 days to respond once it has the release form. Its primary options are to grant Lohner a release, which would free him to go anywhere he wants, or not grant a release, which would keep Lohner tethered to Utah. Lohner has the right to go through an appeals process if Utah does not grant him a release.

Even without a release, Lohner can still go to BYU, or any other school he wants for that matter, but in that case, he would lose a year of eligibility.

There is no evidence that Krystkowiak and Harlan intend to hold Lohner up if he wants out. Such a move almost never plays well in the public forum, even in a case like this where the recruit intends to play for the in-state rival. No matter how things proceed, Utah is going to come out on the short end.

Krystkowiak accepting Lohner’s verbal commitment last August meant the 10th-year head coach had worked under the assumption for nine months that Lohner was coming for the 2020-21 season. In turn, that roster spot was filled, which meant Krystkowiak passed on other recruits. Now, in mid-June, which is very late in this recruiting cycle, that roster spot is about to be vacant.

The Utes are in the mix for three-star Veritas Prep (Calif.) wing Carlos Rosario, who is expected to announce his destination Wednesday from a group of finalists including the Utes, Washington State, Boise State and Iona.

As far as recruiting wins late in the 2020 cycle go, Rosario would be good, but may not offer the immediate help Utah could use, especially up front if Lohner is out of the picture.

To that end, keeping an eye on the NCAA Transfer Portal remains crucial, even at this already-late date. Once the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline of Aug. 3 passes, the portal may produce one more small rush of immediately-eligible graduate transfers.




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