Virginia redshirt junior quarterback David Rivers, who will not be back for the Cavaliers in the fall, is planning to transfer to a Division I-AA school for his final year of NCAA eligibility.
Rivers, who is on schedule to graduate in May, would have to sit out a year if he transferred to a I-A school, but can play immediately if he jumps down to I-AA. He said Western Carolina and Brown top his short list of possibilities.
Rivers said that he and Cav Coach George Welsh made a mutual decision that he would not return. After coming up short in his battle for playing time with junior starter Dan Ellis, Rivers said he could not face the prospect of another year on the bench.
"It definitely was a long season," Rivers said. "After the fall, I decided if it was going to be anything like last season, I didn't want to come back."
At a Feb. 4 press conference, Welsh said he wanted to give more practice time to freshman quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Bryson Spinner and could not promise Rivers a significant role.
"It would be difficult for me to give him enough work to know whether he could help us or not without taking away from Schaub and Spinner," Welsh said. "I didn't want to take away from Schaub and Spinner."
Rivers said he was attracted to Western Carolina and Brown because both schools need a quarterback to bridge the gap between a graduating senior and up-and-coming prospects. He said that it isn't important to him how good the team is.
"With one year left, I felt I'd rather just have fun and play football instead of worrying about getting a fair shake," Rivers said. "That's what I told ol' George: I'm in no hurry to start working. You can only play football once."
Rivers said he explored the possibility of transferring to Richmond - which would have seen him face off against the Cavaliers Sept. 9 - but did not want to be a part of the wishbone offense the Spiders plan to run.
Rivers made the most of his one career start, leading Virginia to a 45-38 win over then-No. 7 Georgia Tech last season. He said the game gave him at least one moment in the limelight.
"You wait for that and want to make the most of it and show what you can do at that level," Rivers said. "Some guys never get that break."