Non-pay to play

Wow.  I’m touched by my own naiveté this morning.  I have to admit this never dawned on me before:

A common misconception is that walk-ons are treated in a significantly different way than scholarship student-athletes. By and large rules apply the same to a student-athlete on a full grant-in-aid and a student-athlete paying his or her own freight to go to school. In general, this works out well for walk-ons.

But when a walk-on decides to possibly transfer and wants to talk to other schools, it should not necessarily be so. To have any degree of control over a student-athlete’s movements (even the tiny amount below), an institution should have to invest directly in his or her education. A walk-on should not require any permission to talk to schools or transfer anywhere. An institution maintains the ability to offer a walk-on a scholarship for the next term or year, provided the institution has scholarship money available.

In other words, a walk-on student-athlete who wants to transfer to another D-1 school and play there is bound by the same transfer rules as a kid on full scholarship.  So if a coach wants to screw with the star of his scout team, he can do so with impunity.  Just another example of the NCAA looking out for… oh, screw it.

Now that I think about it, I’m surprised that I was surprised by that.


Filed under The NCAA

12 responses to “Non-pay to play

  1. Lrgk9

    Ahh Billy Budd, come on down from the crow’s nest …


  2. gastr1

    Hey man…many a walk-on have changed a game against an opponent. Not only that, I doubt Saban has time to think about that shit.


  3. TennesseeDawg

    We’re talking about the NCAA, does this really surprise anyone? These are the same people who threaten a player’s family if the don’t turn over their banking statements.


  4. Go Dawgs!

    I’m actually surprised by that, too. So a school can make zero investment in a player beyond purchasing the uniform and equipment and powering the lights when the kid is working out (presumably alongside scholarship athletes), and then they can prevent that kid from transferring if he finds a team willing to offer a scholarship?

    Seriously, screw the NCAA.


  5. “Any student who, of their own cognition or by way of accident or unintention, physically manifests themself upon a collegiate atheletic field (as defined by NCAA) also enters into a legally binding contract with aforementioned institute for a period of, but not necessarly defined by, young adulthood.” — NCAA General Statutes.


    • Go Dawgs!

      I’ve always objected when athletes characterize their situation as slavery (particulary when the idiot saying it is pulling down millions of dollars a year for his servitude). However, in this situation, there’s really no other way to describe it. A school is getting the fruit of an athlete’s labor for nothing, and can control his ability to “sell” that labor to other schools for a scholarship. That’s wrong, folks.


  6. AthensHomerDawg

    In reality, how many times has this ( a walk-on being denied a transfer to play elsewhere) actually happened ?


  7. Never a Doubt

    If you didn’t have this rule, I can imagine coaches being reluctant to use as many walk-ons. You don’t want a guy playing on your team who defects to a competitor the next year. And there is a privilege in walking on at any school. You get the opportunity to practice against some of the top players in the country, and in many cases, the players see time on the field in a real game (more than I’d prefer on kickoffs). So it isn’t as if the school is the only entity benefitting from this even if the kid is paying his own way. There is a certain prestige associated with being a part of the UGA football program, and if a condition of attaining this privilege is not being able to transfer without sitting out a year, I don’t find it all that troubling. On my list of issues with the NCAA, this would be far to the bottom.


  8. Big Shock

    There was a good article in SI in the fall about walkons. The guy featured, Whaley at Oklahoma, eventually had a season ending injury. Apparently OK offered him a scholarship beginning in Dec. It’s amazing how one-sided the NCAA is and more amazing that noone has effectively challenged them in court.