Uppy transfers from Penn to U.C.-Davis
Coaches always tell their players that they have to pay the price to be successful.
The price, however, has grown to steep for South Tahoe High alum Bret Uppendahl to continue playing for the University of Pennsylvania football squad.
The 19-year-old Uppendahl was all set to enter his sophomore season with the Quakers, that is before the school hiked its tuiton fees $7,000 over last year.
“A bunch happened over a 2-week period that killed me. What happened is the financial aid package that I received from Penn had gone up to $16,000 or $17,000 a year, and that’s on top of $5,000 in loans per year. My family had to pay $9,000 last year, so we decided that it wasn’t going to be a very good option to go back there,” said Uppendahl, who passed STHS into the zone playoffs in 1996 and 1997.
The final straw came when Gavin Hoffman, who started for Northwestern last year, transferred to Pennsylvania.
“I’m not taking anything away from myself, saying I can play at Penn, but with (Hoffman) being 6-6 and 240 pounds and starting 11 games at Northwestern is pretty tough to beat,” Uppendahl said.
Hoffman completed 176 of 323 passes for 2,199 and 13 touchdowns while with Northwestern in 1998.
The late developments prevent Uppendahl from playing anywhere else this fall. However, he has enrolled in classes at UC Davis and has notified the coach of his interest in playing for the Aggies next fall.
“I’m definitely going to play again. I was talking to the Davis coaches the last two weeks, but it was too late in the summer to play this year. I’ll try to keep myself busy and keep prepared for next year.”
Counting Uppendahl, Pennsylvania’s projected 1999 roster included eight quarterbacks. Yet, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Uppendahl felt he distinguished himself in the team’s spring game where he tossed two touchdown passes while completing all four of his pass attempts.
“I was in there for three series and two of them we scored on,” Uppendahl said. “The coaches didn’t say much. They called two weeks ago to tell me that they had a transfer coming in, and they figured out through the grapevine that I was transferring.
“I’ll miss all the friends I made .. the guys on the football team are a bunch of good guys.”
Penn coaches didn’t return several phone calls on Uppendahl’s behalf.
If and when Uppendahl gets the opportunity to play at Davis, he’s confident he can contribute to one of the powerhouses of NCAA Division 1-AA football.
“There’s no question that I can play there. The level of competition at Davis is very comparable to Penn. As soon as I learn the system, I should have no problem fitting in there,” Uppendahl said. “Davis is the best option athletically and academically at this point.”
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