Class of 2015 four-star offensive tackle Sam Madden (Barnegat, New Jersey) decommitted from Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon in what was considered by many a surprising announcement.
The last thing the nation had heard from Madden regarding his status with the Badgers was "I'm staying with Wisconsin, I don't care who else offers," but a big change occurred in the process since then.
I spoke to Dave Madden, Sam's father, on Sunday afternoon, and he explained to me that an admissions issue was the cause of the parting of ways.
"I got a surprise call from them on Tuesday. I reached out to them," he said. "I've been in close contact the whole way. I knew Wisconsin was tough on academic standards, so when they asked us to commit, we went over Sam’s grades.
"And they came back and said academically you've got to have much higher grades, but he’ll be fine for June as long as he gets this GPA, so they sent that to us in writing. We have that. I called to ask when the Big Ten tender letter was coming and when he would get his letter of acceptance."
After not hearing back right away, Madden's father made a few phone calls and sent some emails out. This past Tuesday, he received a call from Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, who said it was brought to his attention that it would be a long shot for Sam to be admitted.
"I was blown away because throughout the process it’s been 'no problem, he’s good as long as he gets these final grades,'" his father said.
"We just got his final grades, and he's gotten straight A's for his senior year."
Madden is graduating high school next week with the original intentions of enrolling early. Chryst told them that Wisconsin would not be able to get him a letter of acceptance until late in the Spring, and the chances of that even happening were slim as well.
"I went through the roof because we had been absolutely led down a path. We were asked to be loyal and not take any other official visits," his father said. "I was out of the country when I got the call and was traveling all week so I couldn't even tell Sam until yesterday (Saturday) and that was very upsetting because we felt we were betrayed.
"At the end of the day it boils down to this: The University of Wisconsin made him an offer and said 'if you do this academically, you’re in here. Please commit to us, don’t take any other visits. We did everything we were asked to do. They lied to us and didn’t do what they said they would do.'"
Now that Madden is no longer going to Wisconsin, his family and high school coach are in the process of calling other schools. One of those schools that has been thrown around as a potential destination is Michigan.
"With Jim Harbaugh going to Michigan, they are of great interest," his father said. "He’s an amazing coach and I think he’s going to turn that program around really fast. Both Michigan schools would definitely be of interest and there are a few other schools we've discussed.
"We have not heard from them (Michigan), but we would be thrilled to be. It’s a pretty exciting program with an amazing legacy to potentially join, so that would be an exciting call to get. We’ll see what’s available and what’s out there and just have a realistic conversation. I've got all of Sam’s grades ready to send anybody quickly if there’s interest."
Still, the family is frustrated by the turn of events, saying that after he committed to Wisconsin they ceased contact with schools like Florida, Alabama and other big name programs. Regardless, his father knows the type of player a program will be getting before it's all said and done.
"We’re looking for a good school for Sam to go," he said. "He’s a passionate road grader, loves the game and does anything that’s asked of him by his coaches.
"He’s a very passionate and powerful player and he’ll make an impact wherever he goes."