CORVALLIS, Ore. — Having been supplanted as Oregon State’s starting quarterback early this season, former Santa Monica High School standout Ryan Katz has been granted a request to be released from his scholarship so he can pursue a transfer.

The redshirt junior is slated to complete his OSU undergraduate education in the spring, opening the door for him to transfer and be eligible next season. The only catch is he cannot transfer to a Pac-12 school.

“I didn’t think this would happen,” Katz said of his decision to transfer. “I thought I would get another opportunity [to earn back the starting job].”

Entering this season, Katz was recovering from a broken wrist suffered in OSU’s final game of 2010. He missed spring camp, but was cleared to resume his starting role during summer practice. He said there was no competition for the job and that he took all of the first-team snaps in preparation for the 2011 season.

Katz received the starting nod to open the season against Sacramento State, but was benched at half-time as the Beavers trailed 14-3.

Freshman Sean Mannion would play the remainder of the loss, but Katz was restored as the team’s starter for the second game of the season, this time against Wisconsin.

Katz led OSU to a first down on the team’s first possession, but was replaced by Mannion. Katz would re-enter the game for a few plays, but it would be the final action he would see all season.

“I was surprised by it,” Katz said of the benching. “Some of my teammates were surprised by it, too.”

Oregon State would ultimately begin the season 0-4, a fact Katz thought would give him another shot at the starting spot. He patiently waited for an opportunity that never came.

“Do I disagree with the situation — yes,” Katz said. “But, I’m not a quitter. I wasn’t going to quit on my team.”

Although Katz didn’t make his decision official until Monday, he said that he figured that he would have to transfer to get another chance at a starting gig.

To become eligible, Katz has to find a post-graduate program not offered by Oregon State. A business major, Katz said that working toward an MBA is out of the picture for now.

“It will be a challenge to find common ground with both football and school,” he said. “Hopefully it relates to business.”

During his time at Oregon State, Katz played in 18 games with 14 of those appearances starts. He completed 239 of 406 passes for 2,722 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“I want to thank Ryan for his contributions at Oregon State and he leaves our school with my utmost respect,” Head Coach Mike Riley said in a statement. “Everybody associated with the Oregon State football program wishes him great success in his future endeavors.”

daniela@www.smdp.com

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