Quarterback Robert Marve plans to announce his next collegiate destination Friday.
“I’m undecided,” the transfer from the University of Miami told the News Sentinel on Monday evening.
Marve is deciding between two schools: Tennessee and Purdue.
Marve hoped to make his decision sooner but will wait to confer with his father when he returns home from a business trip on Wednesday.
Marve has tried to learn as much as possible about UT while dealing with serious restrictions.
As per NCAA transfer rules, Marve isn’t allowed to talk to UT coaches and would have to pay for his schooling for a year since Miami refused to release him to UT.
“The scholarship thing is not bad,” Marve said. “That’s just the rules and how things go. I don’t really understand it but rules are rules. (But) it’s hard not to be able to look a coach in the eye and see what’s going on.
“Paying for school is one thing but not being able to talk to a coach you’re supposed to play for … that’s rough.”
Miami refused to release Marve to three SEC schools: UT, Florida and LSU. The Hurricanes claimed no wrongdoing on the schools’ behalf but claimed a member of the Marve family may have contacted the schools last fall while Marve was still a Hurricane.
The no-contact rule for transfers is one heavily enforced by the NCAA. If contact is made — other than one initial phone call — a player can be deemed ineligible for that particular school.
“That’s a weird rule,” Marve said, “just because Miami said I can’t talk to them.”
Marve said he has studied Southern California to better educate himself on the offense that first-year UT coach Lane Kiffin will implement at UT.
“They all have different versions of the pro-style offense,” Marve said, referring to college coaches. “Some pro-style offenses run the ball more than others. Some are more into pro-style/West Coast. (Do) you call it pro-style because you’re under center?”
Marve has relied on what his father, Eugene Marve, knows of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to answer some of those questions.
The elder Marve, who played 11 seasons in the NFL, played under Kiffin in 1984 and 1985 when Kiffin was an assistant for the Buffalo Bills.
That connection and UT’s coaches’ pedigrees carry some weight.
“They’re coaches you’re going to trust,” Marve said. “They’ve already proven themselves by the caliber of games they have won, the big-time programs everyone has been in. You have to trust the coaches like that. Their resumes speak for themselves.”
Marve was thought by many to be destined for Purdue before he visited UT’s campus last week.
“I thought it was really nice,” Marve said. “I had never been to Knoxville before. I was interested in what the campus would look like. I thought everything was really pretty.
“I liked how downtown was close, right next to school. It kind of felt like a popping place, the atmosphere of the college there. And obviously how big the football was there, you could feel it.”
Some media outlets had reported that playing in front of 100,000-plus in Neyland Stadium was a strong factor in Marve’s decision. Marve, however, downplayed the impact of fan support.
“It’s a nice thing to have but it can’t be your main focus,” he said. “Your main focus is to get your degree and to be able to play in the right system that’s built for you. Obviously it’s always nice to see 100,000 people in the stands. It plays a decent role but you can’t look too much into that kind of stuff.”
As for Purdue, they have a long history with Marve and the offense he’s looking for.
“I like being in a spread offense, similar to what I ran in high school,” Marve said. “I’ve known those coaches for awhile now. Even a couple of them were there when I was getting recruited out of high school. It’s just kind of a relationship that’s been building.”
Marve was a Florida high school Mr. Football award winner following his senior season at Plant High School in Tampa. He started 11 games for the Hurricanes last season, completing 116 of 213 passes for 1,293 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Marve was suspended for two games last season.
Marve will have two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2010 after he sits out the 2009 season, as per NCAA transfer rules.