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Report: Pat Narduzzi confronts Lincoln Riley amid tampering accusations

Reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison is reportedly mulling an 11th-hour transfer from Pitt, in what could be a watershed moment for college athletics' free agency and free market era.

Tuesday Update: Addison is officially in the Portal.


Pitt wide receiver Jordan Addison is reportedly mulling a transfer, in what could become a watershed moment for college football's free agency and free market era.

Addison is the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner, fresh off a season in which he caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns, while helping the Panthers win the ACC championship. 

On Friday night, word broke that Addison is considering leaving Pitt, and not only that, his supposed destination was already picked out: USC. 

Shocking as it was to see the news Friday night, one can see why Addison would consider a transfer. The quarterback (Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers), coordinator (Mark Whipple, Nebraska) and position coach (Brennan Marion, Texas) that helped Addison to his breakout season have all since left Pitt. Addison is from the Washington, D.C., area, as is USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Still, losing Addison would be a crippling blow to Pitt's ACC title defense, and the Panthers don't intend to go down without a fight. ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Narduzzi placed a call to Lincoln Riley on Friday night:

A source told ESPN that Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi caught wind of USC as a potential destination and called Trojans coach Lincoln Riley multiple times on Friday to express his displeasure. Pitt officials suspect that tampering could have occurred.

(Addison's camp told Thamel that no final decision has been made and that if the player does transfer it would be for professional development reasons, not monetary ones... because what else are they going to say.)

While it could be difficult to prove, prosecute and enforce, it would be even more difficult to explain to the layman how Addison could leave Pitt and choose a new destination all in one fell swoop without some form of tampering involved. 

(Standard disclaimer: Even if USC, or someone else, tampered to secure Addison, it would not be the first or only time a team bent the rules to secure a player. But it would be the most high profile and clear cut example, which is why the news has caused such a commotion.) 

Combined with the situation unfolding with Miami's basketball program and it seems as if this week has brought us to something of a breaking point for college athletics current moment, where, after a century-plus of limited movement and no (legal) payments, players can now leave with no penalty and make as much money as the free market will pay them. 

Some will say these two examples are proof that the NCAA and the various powers that be need to put the genie back in the bottle and go back to the old rules, before one-time transfer exception and NIL. This will not and can not happen, thanks to the court system. Others will argue the Miami and Pitt examples are proof that college sports needs to move all the way in the other direction: to create a union for college athletes, sign them to collectively-bargained contracts, which would then standardize how much money they can earn while also limiting their movement.

The ultimate question there is: Who out there has the willingness and the power to get anything like that done? 

That, though, is a conversation for another day. As for right now, there's a reason that Isaiah Wong has threatened a holdout at Miami and Jordan Addison is mulling a transfer from Pitt right now. The deadline to enter the Portal and maintain eligibility for the fall is May 1, as in Sunday. 

So we should get an answer here real soon.