So there you have it. He paints an impossible picture. One, he said, that was not painted haphazardly. He estimated that CAP members spent at least 10 hours over three meetings debating the matter.
"That's a lot of time," Harrison said. "The [NCAA] staff probably spent hundreds of hours looking at alternative models at our direction."
The CAP members examined whether the use of a retention point was the best predictor for graduation, Harrison said. They looked at collecting data by season, with fall, winter and spring cutoff dates. They determined it would drive schools crazy reporting so often. Notably, they looked seriously at enforcing basketball data separately.
"There was a lot of discussion," Harrison said. "The earliest we conceivably could announce penalties was January. That's fine if you were UConn and think your scores are getting better. But what if scores got worse and you have to say, 'Sorry, you think you're eligible for the tournament but you're not.' It's late for the seniors to transfer [as Alex Oriakhi did per NCAA rules]. We decided it wasn't fair."
Harrison had a point to make for those who project eligibility.
"UConn 'knew' their scores were better," Harrison said, "but they really don't know it until the student-athlete walks into class in the fall [for the retention point]."
The intent is to stick with this system, although Harrison conceded one matter could change it. In the next year or two, he said, there will be a general review of the policy on transfers. A letter recently was sent out by NCAA President Mark Emmert to examine the spectrum of possibilities.
"The basketball coaches want tighter controls on transfers, that's where it stems from," Harrison said. "On the other end of that spectrum is [columnist] Joe Nocera and his buddies at The New York Times and some sentiment I think within the Department of Justice for fewer or no controls on transfer … feeling it's for the student-athlete's welfare.
"If [transfer rules] were to change we'd want to go back and look at our [eligibility] rules. For example, if we're going to allow more transfers maybe the retention point doesn't make as much sense."
One thing will change. Under pressure from football bowls — surprise! — trying to gauge the availability of schools, APR penalties are going to be announced in April instead of June.
Outside of Connecticut, he said, there is a perception he is pro-UConn. Inside, he said, one that he is anti-UConn. He has received some angry emails and people have approached him at restaurants about UConn, but there have been no personal threats.
"I know there are some people who think I have some animus toward UConn," said Harrison, who recused himself from the APR processes involving UConn basketball and Central Connecticut soccer. "That's as far from the truth as could be. I know that in my heart of hearts. I'm trying to be fair to everybody. I think the system we have is fair."