Two key members of the University of Houston men's basketball team told FOX 26 Sports they have asked for their release so they can consider transferring to other schools and those requests have been denied.
Junior forward TaShawn Thomas and sophomore guard Danuel House both said they are appealing the decision through the school's Athletics Transfer Release Appeal Process.
Thomas led the Cougars in scoring during the 2013-14 season at 15.4 points per game and in rebounding (8.1).
"I asked for my release. They denied it," Thomas said. "Somebody else (guard Jaaron Simmons) on the team asked for their release before the new coach came in and they gave him his release.
"I feel like they should respect that I'm trying to explore different options."
Thomas was named to the American Athletic Conference second team this past season.
He was named to the Conference USA first team following the 2012-13 season
Thomas said he considered playing for new UH coach Kelvin Sampson, but ultimately chose to go in a different direction.
"I have (considered playing for Sampson)," Thomas said. "He's met my family and I talked to him a couple of times, and me and my family decided that we want to try and explore different situations.
"I'm kind of nervous about the whole new situation with the coach."
House was UH's second-leading scorer this past season, averaging 13.6 points a game.
He was highly recruited out of Fort Bend Hightower.
"I want (his decision) to go viral," House said. "I want people to know that they're holding us hostage, that they just don't want to give us our release. They give one of my teammates his release and let him talk to (other) schools and they're not giving me my release.
"I think it's unfair. It's not right."
House said the fact that Sampson has replaced James Dickey, who stepped down has no bearing on his decision.
"It don't make any difference at all," House said. "I still wanted my release. I talked to him. We sat down and met. I even asked him myself for my release. He just told me to take it step-by-step."
According to emails sent to each player from the school, and obtained by FOX 26 Sports, Thomas and House were told their requests for release were denied on Friday, one day after Sampson was named the Cougars coach.
UH's Athletics Transfer Release Appeal Process is heard by a committee that includes the chairman of the athletics advisory committee, the faculty athletics representative and another member of the athletics advisory committee determined by the chairman.
According to the documents each player received from the school concerning the process, no members of the athletics departments staff may serve on this committee.
Mack Rhoades, University of Houston vice president for intercollegiate athletics and Sampson were not available for comment.